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Idaho fights way to 5-3 playoff victory in Ontario

Thursday, April 5th
Idaho fights way to 5-3 playoff victory in Ontario

(Ontario, CA) - Jacob Cepis scored twice, Marty Flichel handed out two assists, and Jerry Kuhn stopped 39 shots Friday night as the Idaho Steelheads defeated the Ontario Reign, 5-3, in front of 3,519 fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. With the win, Idaho takes a two-games-to-one advantage in the best of five ECHL Western Conference playoff series with Game 4 coming Saturday night in Ontario at 7 PM (Mtn). In a series that has had more twists and turns than a rural Idaho highway, Game 3 provided some new nastiness in what has been a very physical and chippy series between the two teams. After Michael Gergen's point shot (7:16 of the 1st Period) and Jacob Cepis's finish of a great Cody Purves pass (8:35 of the 2nd Period) had Idaho on top, 2-0, the Steelheads were hit with a five-minute major penalty, game misconduct, and match penalty for an illegal check to the head to rookie Ron Meyers after an offensive zone collision involving Ontario's Kyle Kraemer. Kraemer was injured and forced to leave the game and, in the ensuing major power play, the Reign rallied with goals from Kevin Estrada and Geoff Irwin to tie the game at 2-2 after two periods. Idaho took the lead back early in the third on a power-play goal. Marty Flichel fed the puck up the left-wing wall to Michael Neal, who drove deep behind the Ontario net. He then feathered a perfect pass to Aaron Lewicki on top of the crease, who flipped the puck past Jean Francois Berube to give Idaho a 3-2 lead at the 3:00 mark of the final period. Idaho would extend the lead - also on the power play - at 5:16 of the third when Cepis scored on his own rebound at the near post to make it 4-2. Ontario drew closer on a hard-working goal from Derek Couture. Couture and Stretch brought the puck into the offensive zone two-on-five as the Reign changed behind the play. But Couture and Stretch out-fought the Idaho defenders and goaltender Jerry Kuhn, with Couture finishing at 11:50 to make it 4-3. That score would hold until the final 70 seconds of the game. Just seconds after Berube was pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Cody Purves shot a puck from the wall down the length of the ice and into the vacated net at 18:56 to give Idaho the extra cushion it needed in the 5-3 victory. As the final horn sounded, a melee broke out that included two fights. As Ontario's JD Watt attempted to engage Neal, Ontario's Benn Olson grabbed Matt Case behind the play and began punching him. That led to a fight between the two. As that fight was being broken up, Kory Scoran dropped the gloves with Geoff Irwin, landing several left hands before the officials could break that fight up - all after the game had ended. Jerry Kuhn stopped 39 shots in the victory while Berube allowed four goals on 25 shots before Idaho tacked on the final empty-net goal. Idaho was 2-7 on the power play and Ontario was 2-5. The two teams return to the ice Saturday night at 7 PM as the Steelheads look to end the series. The Steelheads will be hosting a watch party for Games 3 and 4 at the SportZone inside CenturyLink Arena. There is no admission charge and there will be drink specials and a limited food menu for fans in attendance. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Marty Flichel AQUA FINA "3 STARS" - (1) Jacob Cepis (ID) (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.

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