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Steelheads Win Fifth Straight, Clinch Division with Win in Victoria

Friday, March 12th
Steelheads Win Fifth Straight, Clinch Division with Win in Victoria

The Idaho Steelheads (42-13-5) completed a three-game sweep of the Victoria Salmon Kings (31-26-6) with a 5-3 win in Victoria this evening. The win guarantees Idaho the top spot in the West Division for the regular season, and is also Idaho?s eighth victory in their last nine tries, and their fifth straight win overall. Mark Derlago had two goals and four points to lead Idaho, and Mark McCutcheon had three assists in the victory. Despite multiple Salmon Kings scoring chances in the first period, the Steelheads emerged from the opening frame with a 1-0 lead courtesy of Mark Derlago?s 35th goal of the season. Mark McCutcheon connected with Derlago on a short pass on the right wing side, and Derlago marched in deked a defender, pulled Victoria?s Matt Keetley down to the ice, and fired the puck upstairs on the Salmon Kings? netminder for the game?s first goal at 8:30. At 4:48 of the second period, Derlago netted his 36th of the season as he banged home the rebound from a McCutcheon shot. Brendan Milnamow, along with McCutcheon, assisted on Derlago?s second goal of the game; a goal that gave Idaho a 2-0 lead. At 5:49 of the second, Steve Oleksy scored his first ECHL goal on a point shot through traffic; Kevin DeVergilio and Adam Huxley assisted on the goal that put Idaho on top 3-0. With Idaho on the power play, Captain Marty Flichel gave Idaho a 4-0 lead when he took a pass from Evan Barlow and sent the puck along the ice and into the net for his 12th of the season. Derlago also assisted, as Idaho went up 4-0. Before the second period could conclude, the Salmon Kings did solve Idaho?s netminder and ECHL wins leader Rejean Beauchemin when Jeff Lynch capitalized after a hard forecheck. He emerged from the corner with the puck, and slid a backhand shot under Beauchemin to cut Idaho?s lead to 4-1. At 1:55 of the third period, Randall Gelech scored the frame?s first goal on the power play for Victoria. He gathered in a rebound in front of Beauchemin, and fired the puck home to cut Idaho?s lead to 4-2. Less than a minute later at 2:53, Tyler Spurgeon fired home a one-timer from the slot as Derlago played a pass to McCutcheon, who found Spurgeon open for the goal, his 24th, to give Idaho a 5-2 lead. Chad Painchaud capitalized on a turnover in the Idaho defensive end at 4:19 of the third, but that would be all Victoria would muster the rest of the way, as Idaho held the 5-3 lead for the duration.

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