Anchorage, AK (1/25/15) – An errant bounce off a deflected clearing attempt in the third period led to the game-winning goal for the Alaska Aces as the home team held on to knock off the Idaho Steelheads, 3-2, in front of 3,400 fans at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage on Sunday evening.
The loss was just Idaho's second in regulation since the Christmas holiday. Idaho (26-12-4) is tied with Colorado for the Pacific Division lead with 56 points in the standings.
The Steelheads started flat, leading to two early Alaska goals as both Chris Francis (3:11) and Brendan Connolly (3:38) struck inside the game's first four minutes as the Aces had seven of the game's first eight shots before Idaho started to tilt the ice back. Late in the first, Idaho netted its eighth short-handed goal of the season when Matt Case jarred a puck loose to James Livingston, who sprinted ahead on a two-on-one rush with David deKastrozza. deKastrozza blasted Livingston's pass past Troy Redmann from the left-wing circle at 17:20 of the first, his 13th goal of the season, to cut Alaska's lead to 2-1. The goal was deKastrozza's ECHL-leading fourth short-handed tally of the season.
Neither team was able to score during a disjointed, whistle-filled second period, setting the stage for a dash to the finish in the third. Jason Bast and Wade MacLeod both rang potential game-tying goals off the post as Idaho dominated the third period of play, finally breaking through at 5:35. Drew Baker carried the puck up the right-wing side, beating two Aces up the wall before sending the puck toward the top of the crease. Colton Beck was there to re-direct the puck in for his sixth goal of the season to tie the score, 2-2.
Idaho continued to build momentum, nearly taking the lead on a goal-mouth scramble but Redmann came up with a big save to keep the game tied. With less than seven minutes to play, Idaho's Olivier Roy made an initial save on a shot at the right-wing post. Troy Vance tried to clear the puck but his pass banked awkwardly off the stick of Bryan Cameron and rolled across the crease to Matt Harrington, who had a virtually empty net to shoot into at 13:16 to re-establish a one-goal lead at 3-2.
The Steelheads continued to press down the stretch to no avail, as the team dropped to 15-6-4 in one-goal games.
Olivier Roy took the loss, making 31 saves on 34 shots. Redmann, acquired off waivers on Saturday, managed to fight off 44 of Idaho's 46 shots to pick up the win. Idaho's power play finished 0-6, including a big, two-man advantage in the second period, but the penalty-kill was a perfect 3-for-3 along with the short-handed goal.
The six-game road trip continues for Idaho in Ontario, where the Steelheads and Reign meet on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Idaho returns to home ice on Wednesday, February 4, to host the Utah Grizzlies on Dollar Beer Night at CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Colton Beck (G)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:(1) Troy Redmann (AK)(2) Chris Francis (AK)(3) Brendan Connolly (AK)
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.