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Slow start dooms Steelheads in finale

Saturday, March 30th
Slow start dooms Steelheads in finale

Stockton, CA (3/30/13) - Goaltender Olivier Roy made a number of highlight-reel saves to keep the Idaho Steelheads at bay as the Stockton Thunder rode a fast start to a 4-2 victory Saturday night in Stockton. Idaho concludes the regular season at 45-20-7 (97 points). The win and point total are the second-highest for the team in its ECHL history. The third-seeded Steelheads open the Kelly Cup playoffs, presented by KeyBank, on Wednesday against the sixth-seeded Colorado Eagles. A crowd of 8,390 in Stockton were thrilled by a fast start by the home team as Garet Hunt, Mike Little, and Ryan Hayes all netted first-period tallies to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. It was not an easy three-goal lead, though, as Roy had to make a pair of brilliant saves at point-blank range to keep Idaho off the board. First, it was a leg-pad save on Austin Fyten at the top of the crease. Then, he denied Justin Taylor from the right edge of the crease to keep Idaho off the board in the first. The Steelheads got on the board early in the second period as Mike Towns converted a Scott Todd shot off the end boards at 2:58 of the second to cut Stockton's lead to 3-1. Towns' second goal of the season was also assisted by Brett Robinson. Roy again bailed out his teammates, twice stoning Tyler Gron on clean scoring opportunities, before Hayes scored his second of the night on a goal-mouth scramble at 10:27 to re-establish Stockton's three-goal lead at 4-1. Idaho would again score early in the third as Gron carried the puck in the left wing on a two-on-one rush. He took the shot himself, sending a wrister between Roy's legs for his 21st of the season at 5:12 of the third to cut the lead once again to two goals. The Steelheads flirted with the massive comeback for the rest of the third, consistently hounding the Stockton net, but Roy continued to thwart the Steelheads with key save after key save, allowing the Thunder to hold on. Tyler Beskorowany took the loss in net for Idaho, stopping 9 of 12 shots before giving way to Chris Rawlings to start the second period. It marked the first time all season that head coach Brad Ralph had opted to change his goaltender mid-game and Rawlings, the rookie out of Northeastern University, responded by stopping 16 of 17 shots over the final two periods to give his teammates the opportunity to rally. Roy was the star of the night, however, stopping 25 of 27 - a number of them high-quality saves - in the victory. Stockton converted two of six power-play opportunities while Idaho was 0-4. The ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by KeyBank, return to CenturyLink Arena on Wednesday and Thursday, April 3 and 4, to open a best-of-seven, first-round matchup against the Colorado Eagles. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208.331.8497 or by going online at www.idahosteelheads.com COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Tyler Gron CENTURYLINK THREE STARS: 1) Ryan Hayes (STK) 2) Olivier Roy (STK) 3) Mike Little (STK) 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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