(Ontario, CA) - For the second straight night, a late scoring opportunity just missed in the closing seconds as Andrei Plekhanov's slap shot from the top of the circles zipped just wide of the near post in the final ten seconds, allowing Ontario to escape with a 3-2 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Saturday. Friday night in Stockton, it was Cody Purves' backhander in the final fifteen seconds that sailed just over the top of the crossbar in a 3-2 loss to the Thunder. Idaho (23-24-6) has now dropped four straight games, three of them by one goal, all on the road and all coming down to the final seconds of regulation. Ontario netted a pair of goals in the first period with Everett Sheen (6th at 10:23) and Derek Couture (22nd at 13:21) giving the Reign a 2-0 lead after one period. Idaho had several opportunities in the second period, but Ontario goaltender Chris Carrozzi made highlight-reel saves on Jacob Cepis and David Fredriksson to keep the Steelheads off the board through two periods. Former Steelhead Geoff Irwin netted a pretty goal at 3:27 of the third to give the Reign a 3-0 lead that seemed to put the game out of reach but, for the second straight night, Idaho fought back down the stretch. The Steelheads got on the board with 7:10 left in the third on Aaron Lewicki's fifth as a Steelhead, 14th goal on the season overall, off an offensive-zone takeaway by Derek LeBlanc. LeBlanc touched the puck to Lewicki at the bottom of the right-hand circle and the second-year forward had all day to settle the puck down and snap one past Carrozzi's blocker to make it 3-1. The game would get even tighter with 1:45 to play when LeBlanc redirected Plekhanov's shot from the blue line past Carrozzi to make it 3-2. LeBlanc's 13th of the season was also assisted by Michael Gergen. Forty seconds later, Ontario's Chris Huxley was whistled for a holding penalty, putting Idaho on the power play. With the Idaho net empty, the Steelheads set up for an offensive zone draw in the left-hand circle. Chad Nehring won it back cleanly and the puck was fed to Plekhanov. Plekhanov lined up a big slap shot from outside the circles near the middle of the ice, but the whistling blast went just wide with less than ten seconds to go. Idaho could not muster another shot on goal as Ontario (31-15-5) survived Idaho's frantic rally. Jerry Kuhn was the tough-luck loser for Idaho, making 37 saves on 40 shots. Carrozzi was strong in net for Ontario despite giving up the two late tallies, stopping 31 of 33 Idaho shots. The Steelheads were 1-7 on the power play, Ontario went 1-2. The same two teams will meet again on Sunday at Ontario's Citizen Business Bank Arena with the game getting underway at 6 PM. The game can be heard on KTIK (1350 AM) in the Treasure Valley. The Steelheads return home on February 22 to host the Utah Grizzlies in Boise. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office (208.331.TIXS) or by logging on to www.idahosteelheads.com. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Derek LeBlanc AQUA FINA "3 STARS" - (1) Geoff Irwin (ONT) (2) Derek Couture (ONT) (3) Aaron Lewicki (ID) Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of Tim?s Cascade Chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.
Another late rally comes up just short for Steelheads
Friday, February 17th
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