Ontario, CA (12/17/14) – The visiting Idaho Steelheads netted a pair of goals in the first 1:13 of the game and another three goals in span of just over four minutes in the third period, riding the outbursts to a 6-1 victory over the Ontario Reign Wednesday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The win improved Idaho's overall record to 16-8-2, giving the team a Pacific Division-best 34 points and also giving Steelheads head coach Brad Ralph his 100th win as the bench boss in Idaho.
Idaho set the tone early on back-to-back offensive-zone possessions. The first, at the 55-second mark of action, saw Colton Beck pick up a loose puck, skate down the right-side and spot Devin DiDiomete trailing the play. Beck dropped the pass to DiDiomete who rifled home his first goal as a Steelhead to give Idaho a 1-0 lead less than a minute in. Just 18 seconds later, Beck again carried the puck in the right-wing side and again spotted the trailer, this time it was Gaelan Patterson receiving the pass in the slot and firing home his fourth of the season at 1:13. After Ontario's Rocco Carzo scored at 8:51 to get Ontario within one, the Steelheads caught the Reign in a bad line change with a long break-out pass from Troy Vance to James Livingston. Livingston buried his sixth of the season, second in as many games, at 13:29 to re-establish the two-goal lead, 3-1, after one period.
In the second, Olivier Roy and the penalty-kill unit came up big as Ontario had three opportunities to cut into Idaho's lead on the power play but Roy stopped all 13 shots he faced in the period - including two point-blank attempts from Derek Couture - to help Idaho maintain the two-goal lead going into the final period.
In the final period, Idaho put the game away quickly. At the 38-second mark, Brett Robinson buried a rebound from the top of the crease for his fifth tally of the season to make it a 4-1 game, assists from Livingston and Wade MacLeod, before Steve Quailer and Jason Bast hooked up on a goal at 1:49 of the third. Bast's team-leading 15th, a blistering shot from the low left-wing circle, sent some for the exits but Idaho wasn't done. At the 4:55 mark, Livingston got the puck to MacLeod at the top of the right-wing circle and MacLeod banged home his 10th of the season to extend Idaho's lead to 6-1 and remove any suspense. MacLeod, with a goal and assist on the night, now has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past six games to take over the team lead in scoring with 27 points.
There were three fights down the stretch as DiDiomete dropped the gloves with Geoff Walker before Mike Dalhuisen squared off with Norm Ezekiel. Then, Charlie Dodero and Walker engaged in yet another tilt before the game finally wound down for the Idaho win.
Roy was outstanding in net for Idaho, picking up his ECHL-best 13th win by stopping 28 of 29 shots. Jussi Olkinuora took the loss, surrendering six goals on 24 shots. Idaho was 0-2 on the power play but a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill, making the team 32 for its last 34 on the penalty kill over the past eight games.
Livingston (goal, two assists), MacLeod (goal, assist) and Colton Beck (two assists) authored multi-point nights for Idaho. MacLeod, Livingston, Patrick Cullity and Eamonn McDermott all had plus/minus ratings of plus-3 on the night.
Idaho has three games over the weekend in Stockton - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - before taking a brief break for the Christmas holiday.
The Steelheads return to home ice the night after Christmas, December 26, to face the same Reign team at CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available online at www.idahosteelheads.com or by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Colton Beck (2A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1) James Livingston (ID)2) Wade MacLeod (ID)3) Rocco Carzo (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 chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.