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Steelheads hold off Thunder, 4-3

Monday, March 31st
Steelheads hold off Thunder, 4-3

Stockton, CA (3/30/14) – The Idaho Steelheads got goals from four different players and held off a late push from the Stockton Thunder Sunday evening, picking up a 4-3 win in front of 4,046 fans at Stockton Arena.

The win was the third straight for Idaho (36-25-7) as the team has now picked up six wins in its past eight games.  There are four games left in the regular season as Idaho continues to hold a slim lead over Colorado in the race for fourth place in the ECHL's Western Conference standings.  The top four seeds each get home-ice advantage in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

After some near-misses early, Idaho drew first blood at 13:29.  Rookie defenseman Dalton Reum nearly had his first professional goal as a shot from the center point banged straight down off the crossbar.  The bouncing puck then veered into the left-wing circle, just out of the reach of Jason Bast, before Justin Mercier gathered it in and snapped it home for his 13th goal of the season to put Idaho on top.  Stockton tied the game on a Joey Martin power-play goal at the 5:59 mark of the second period, but Idaho re-took the lead on a power-play goal of its own, Tommy Grant's team-leading 22nd of the season, as he swept in a loose rebound at the right-wing post at the 12:32 mark of the second, to re-establish Idaho's one goal lead.  Grant's marker was assisted by William Rapuzzi and Anthony Nigro, who was playing his first game since March 5 due to injury.

Idaho played add-on early in the third.  Russ Sinkewich notched his first goal as a Steelhead (second overall) from the right-wing wall after gathering in a Gaelan Patterson faceoff win to make it 3-1 at 5:30.  Then, at 8:54, Rob Linsmayer smacked home the rebound of a Bast shot on a two-on-one rush to push the lead to 4-1.  Linsmayer's 17th of the season, 15 with Idaho, seemed to put the game out of reach.

But Stockton found life late in the contest when Alan Quine poked home a loose puck on a delayed penalty call at the 17:18 mark of the third.  Just ten seconds later, Ryan Hayes scored with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the right-wing wall to cut Idaho's lead to one.

Steelheads head coach Brad Ralph called a timeout and it seemed to be the perfect remedy as the defense dug in and kept Stockton away from the net for the remaining two and a half minutes to secure the road victory.

Josh Robinson picked up his third straight win by stopping 23 of 26 shots for Idaho.  Parker Milner was the loser, allowing four goals on 29 shots.  Idaho's power play converted one of seven opportunities while Stockton was one for three on the man advantage.

The Steelheads have two home games left, April 4 and 5 against the same Colorado Eagles.  Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208-331-8497.

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME –  Rob Linsmayer (G)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1)    Justin Mercier (ID)2)    Tommy Grant (ID)3)    Joey Martin (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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