Ontario, CA (1/28/15) – The home-standing Ontario Reign scored three times in the game's first six minutes and never looked back, defeating the Idaho Steelheads, 7-2, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Wednesday.
The seven goals against represent a season-high for Idaho (26-13-4), who faces the Reign again on Friday night (8:05 PM Mtn. KTIK 1350). Idaho, Ontario and Colorado share first place in the seven-team Pacific Division with 56 points apiece.
The omen for the night came early, less than two minutes in. Idaho defenseman Matt Case had the puck near his own blue line and spun to head up the ice. But he collided with referee Brett Sheva, jarring the puck loose. Gaspar Kopitar tapped the loose puck to Everett Sheen, who beat Olivier Roy with a bank-hand shot from the top of the crease at 1:58 to take a 1-0 lead. Nolan Julseth-White (3:32) and Matt Register (5:39) scored from the tops of the right and left-wing circles, respectively, to make it 3-0 and bring 20-year-old rookie Henri Kiviaho off the bench in relief of Roy.
Ontario nearly extended the lead just minutes later when a shot from the right-wing circle rang off the post. The ricochet off the post hit Kiviaho in the back and appeared set to roll into the net behind him but Devin DiDiomete alertly stopped the puck from crossing the goal line, allowing Kivaho to fall back on it to keep the deficit at 3-0.
After a David Rutherford goal at 4:04 of the second made it 4-0 for Ontario, Idaho got on the board on Colin Shea's shot from the center point through a good Matt Case screen at 10:04 of the frame, his third of the season, to make it 4-1. Colton Beck provided the assist, giving him points in four straight contests for Idaho. Ontario added a pair of power-play goals during extended power-play time later in the second, though, to quell any thoughts of an Idaho comeback.
Judd Blackwater scored off the rush at 6:13 of the third to make it 7-1 before Idaho closed on the scoring on a Jefferson Dahl power-play goal at the 17:18 mark of the third period. Dahl's fifth was assisted by David deKastrozza and Matt Case, extending point streaks for both. deKastrozza now has a point in five straight games while Case has picked up an assist in each of Idaho's past four games.
Roy took the loss for Idaho, surrendering three goals on six shots before being replaced by Kiviaho, who stopped 25 of 29 in relief. Jussi Olkinuora got the win for Ontario, turning aside 23 of 25 Idaho shots. The Ontario power play converted two of five chances while Idaho's power play went one for six.
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 – David deKastrozza (A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:(1) Matt Register (ONT)(2) David Rutherford (ONT)(3) Peter Holland (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.