(Logan, UT) ? Chad Nehring tucked a puck past Utah's Shane Owen in the seventh round of the shootout, lifting the Idaho Steelheads to a 3-2 victory at the Eccles Ice Center Saturday night. Nehring's shootout tally made a winner of rookie netminder Thomas Speer, who turned aside six of seven Grizzlies attackers in the shootout. Utah struck twice in the first period to take a 2-0 lead and that score held into the third period. The Steelheads finally broke the ice midway through the third period when Tyson Hobbins and Nehring connected off of a Utah turnover. Nehring scored to make it a 2-1 game at 8:32 of the final frame. The Steelheads controlled play in the final frame, putting consistent pressure on the Grizzlies. With two Utah players in the box serving penalties, Idaho finally drew even on a Steve Oleksy slap shot from outside the left circle over Owen's shoulder, tying the game at two with just over three and a half minutes left. Each side had power-play time in the final few moments of regulation, but could not score. Utah started overtime on the power play, but Speer and the Idaho penalty-killers killed it off. Midway through the extra frame, Utah's Chris Donovan broke loose on a breakaway, but Speer came up with a huge save, sending the teams to a shootout. Matt Reber struck first for Utah in the shootout, but that tally was answered by a beautiful Marc Rancourt goal, a double-move that sent Owen sprawling as he tapped it in. Both goaltenders stood tall after that until the seventh round, when Nehring beat Owen cleanly to give Idaho the victory. Speer was a perfect 10-for-10 during game play and stopped six of seven in the shootout for the win. He came on in relief of Steve Christie, who stopped 15 of 17 in two periods of play for Idaho. Owen took the loss, stopping 30 of 32 Idaho shots during regulation and overtime and five of seven during the shootout. Idaho went 1-6 on the power play, while Utah was 0-5. Idaho and Utah will open the regular season next weekend with a home-and-home set. Idaho travels to West Valley City to face the Grizzlies on Friday, October 14, before returning home on Saturday, October 15, to host Utah. Steelhead Season-Ticket Holders get six games FREE when they sign up for full-season packages. Plans for all 36 home games start at just $275 per seat. Partial-season plans are also available, with the home-opener coming on October 15 against the Utah Grizzlies. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.
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