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Steelheads fall, learn playoff fate

Thursday, March 31st
Steelheads fall, learn playoff fate

(Boise, ID) ? Ontario's Brett O'Malley had a goal and an assist while Reign netminder Beau Erickson made a series of big saves Friday night, leading Ontario to a 3-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads in front of 9,592 fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in southern California. Ontario struck first in the first period when Michael Pelech tapped in a loose puck during a wild battle in front of the Idaho crease. His ninth of the season would be the game's only goal until the third period. In the meantime, however, Idaho was foiled by several near-misses. Erickson stood tall in net as the Reign kept it a 1-0 hockey game deep into the third period. Midway through the final frame, Jordan Morrison finished a perfect back-door pass from Alex Bourret to make it 2-0. Idaho drew near just 22 seconds later when Geoff Irwin knocked in a rebound off an Aki Seitsonen shot. Irwin's 13th of the season was also assisted by rookie Tyson Hobbins, his first professional point. Idaho again had a series of opportunities in the final minutes but could not solve Erickson. Mark Derlago put a shot off the crossbar and Tristan King was robbed right in front of the net, epitomizing Idaho's offensive frustrations. Ontario finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left from O'Malley. Jerry Kuhn stopped 24 of 26 Ontario shots in the loss for Idaho. Erickson stopped 31 of 32 Steelhead attempts for Ontario. There was only one power-play in the entire game and Idaho failed to convert on it late in the third period. Idaho and Ontario wrap up the regular season against one another Saturday night. Idaho moves on to the Kelly Cup playoffs as the no. 5 seed by virtue of Utah's loss to Bakersfield. Idaho's first round opponent will be the Las Vegas Wranglers, who lost to Stockton Saturday night to lock in to the no. 4 seed. Game One of the best-of-five first round series will be at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Game Two will also be in Las Vegas before the series shifts back to Idaho for Games Three and Four next weekend at Qwest Arena. Game Five, if necessary, would be in Las Vegas. The ECHL?s Kelly Cup Playoffs are right around the corner and the Idaho Steelheads are out to defend their conference title from last season. Fans can lock in their favorite seat for every possible home playoff game while saving up to 35 percent off the walk-up prices with the ?Pay as We Play? playoff ticket plan. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME ? Tyson Hobbins AQUA FINA THREE STARS 1) Beau Erickson (ONT) 2) Michael Pelech (ONT) 3) Jordan Morrison (ONT)

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