Ontario, CA (3/16/14) – The home-standing Ontario Reign scored twice in the first six minutes of action Sunday and held the Idaho Steelheads at bay from there, topping the visitors, 6-2, in front of an announced crowd of 9,584 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Idaho drops to 32-24-7 with the loss and finished a difficult, four-game/five-night road trip with two wins and two losses.
The Reign struck first just 1:26 into the contest on a Jonathan Parker goal and doubled the lead on a Maxim Kitsyn tally at 6:11 of the first. Idaho rebounded to level the ice and generate some momentum later in the first period, cutting the lead in half on the team's 11th short-handed goal of the season at the 13:07 mark when David deKastrozza broke free on a breakaway while Ontario was on the power play. deKastrozza's shot was denied but he stayed with the play, gathering the rebound and feeding a wide-open Mitch Wahl with a back-door pass for the short-handed tally, Wahl's 16th of the season, to cut Ontario's lead to 2-1. Moments later, Idaho would get 1:50 of two-man advantage time but could not convert despite a number of good looks at the net and Ontario swung the momentum back in their favor when Matt White scored with just four seconds remaining in the first period to give the Reign a 3-1 lead.
Matt Register's point shot at 14:39 was the only tally in the middle frame, leaving Idaho down three goals coming into the third period.
The Steelheads responded in the third with energy. At 6:19, Jason Bast finished a three-on-one rush during four-on-four play, his third goal in as many nights, on an assist from William Rapuzzi to cut Ontario's lead to 4-2. Rapuzzi's assist extended his point streak to seven straight games, six straight with an assist. Four minutes later, a Sasha Guimond penalty put Idaho on the power play but, after a good start to the man advantage, the advantage was negated by an interference call on Ryan Button that the Steelheads bench vehemently contested.
That call seemed to take the final wind out of the sails of the tired Steelheads, playing their fourth game in five nights on the road, as Ontario would tack on two late insurance goals to make the final margin bigger than the actual difference in the game.
Nagle took the loss for Idaho, stopping 21 of 25 before giving way to Kevin Kapalka in the third period. JP Anderson got the win with 27 saves for Ontario. Idaho's power play was 0-7 while the penalty-kill unit was 5-6.
The Steelheads return home on Wednesday, March 19, to host the Colorado Eagles. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – William Rapuzzi (A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1) Jonathan Parker (ONT)2) Rocco Carzo (ONT)3) JP Anderson (ONT)
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.