Ontario, CA (3/12/14) – Matt White scored twice and added an assist Wednesday night as the Ontario Reign survived an Idaho Steelheads comeback attempt, defeating the visitors, 4-3, in front of an announced crowd of 8,599.
The Reign scored twice in the first 6:41 of the game to put Idaho in a hole. Gaspar Kopitar knocked home a rebound at the 44-second mark and White intercepted a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone before burying a wrist shot from the hashmarks at the 6:41 mark to give Ontario a quick, 2-0 lead.
Idaho leveled the ice after that, cutting the lead in half late in the first period when Mitch Wahl found Ryan Murphy from behind the net for a quick, touch-in goal, Murphy's first pro goal, at 18:32 of the first.
The second period would start much the same way as the first, with Ontario striking twice early. White picked up his second of the night at 3:08 before Cody Sol scored on the power play at 7:52 to put Idaho down, 4-1.
But Idaho would answer with energy. After a couple of missed rebound opportunities, Idaho netted a power play goal when William Rapuzzi's feed from behind the net found Taylor Vause at 15:36 for his tenth tally of the season to cut Ontario's lead to 4-2. Then, moments after a fight between Ryan Button and Ontario's Maxim Kitsyn, Patrick Cullity flipped a puck up the right-wing boards to Brock Montgomery who beat Jussi Okinoura with just eight seconds left in the frame to make the score 4-3. The goal was Montgomery's ninth of the season.
Idaho would be credited with just two shots on net in the third period but found pressure early as Vause nearly tied it from the doorstep, in the middle when Wahl missed high and a Murphy re-direct skidded just wide of the post, and late when several late attempts just missed the mark.
Nagle took the loss for Idaho, making 32 saves on 36 shots. Okinoura picked up the win, making 13 saves on 16 official shots on goal. Idaho's power play was 1-5 and the team's penalty-kill unit was 5-6.
NOTE: The game marked the Steelheads' debut for forward Jason Bast, signed prior to the game. Bast recently completed a four-year career at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. The rookie centerman had two shots on net in his second professional game - he appeared in one game for the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Idaho heads to Bakersfield for matchups on Friday and Saturday. The road trip concludes with a Sunday contest back in Ontario against the Reign.
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 – Ryan Murphy (G)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1) Matt White (ONT)2) Gaspar Kopitar (ONT)3) Brock Montgomery (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.