Bakersfield, CA (2/25/15) – Jack Campbell made multiple highlight-reel saves, including a dynamic leg-pad stop at the right-wing post midway through the third period to protect a one-goal lead, and the Idaho Steelheads pulled away late to defeat the Bakersfield Condors, 4-1, in front of 8,751 fans at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
The win for Idaho (33-16-4), coupled with Colorado's shootout loss at home to Alaska, moved the Steelheads to within one point of the ECHL's Pacific Division lead. The Steelheads now have 70 points in the standings, one point behind Colorado, which has 71. The win was also the fourth straight for Idaho, all on the road. The Steelheads will look to extend its winning streak Friday night in Bakersfield (8 PM, KTIK 1350).
Idaho scored early on a loose puck scramble around the net. James Livingston gathered the bouncing puck off Bakersfield goaltender Maxime Lagace and lifted home his 12th of the season at 3:37, giving Idaho a 1-0 lead. Livingston's goal, assisted by Brett Robinson and Wade MacLeod, extended his streak to three straight games with a tally. That score held through a fast-paced first period.
Early in the second, the Steelheads came up empty on a 5-on-3 power play which appeared to jolt Bakersfield to life. The Condors generated multiple scoring chances, none better than Jonathan Lessard's breakaway five minutes into the period, but Campbell fought it off to maintain the one-goal lead. At the midway point of the second, Campbell was bumped during a loose-puck battle near the net and stayed down momentarily, ultimately staying in the game, but Bakersfield tied the game two minutes later on Nick Zappia's first professional goal at 12:19 to even the slate at 1-1. That seemed to re-awaken the Steelheads, who immediately returned fire and took the lead at 16:26 of the second when Alex Belzile found Colton Beck striding through the right circle for a wrist shot that beat Legace far side, past the blocker, for his 12th goal of the season, to give Idaho its one-goal lead back.
Bakersfield received two power-play opportunities early in the third and nearly cashed in, but Campbell and the Steelheads fought off the Condors' man advantages. The best save came with about 12 minutes to play when a Condor, stationed at the right post, appeared to have the game-tying goal on his stick only to be denied by the sprawling leg pad of Campbell. The Steelheads, who had just five shots on net over the final 20 minutes, finally came through with a big insurance goal from Brett Robinson, a perfectly-placed wrist shot from the right-wing circle just over Lagace's shoulder at 14:36 to give the team an important insurance goal, making it 3-1.
The Condors frantically tried to equalize things late, but the Steelheads did a good job keeping pucks away from Campbell and, ultimately, getting an empty-net goal from defenseman Mike Dalhuisen with 13 seconds left to finish off the scoring. The goal was Dalhuisen's first of the season.
Campbell was terrific in notching his fourth consecutive victory, improving to 5-2 overall, with 33 saves on 34 shots for Idaho. Lagace stopped 18 of 21 as the Condors out-shot the Steelheads, 34-22. Neither team converted on the power play - Idaho was 0-6 on the man advantage but a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill.
Idaho returns home on Wednesday, March 4, to host the Stockton Thunder before hosting its annual "Pink in the Rink" weekend on March 6 and 7 as the team will auction off game-worn jerseys to raise money for St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute. Tickets are available online at www.idahosteelheads.com or by calling 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Brett Robinson (G/A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1) Jack Campbell (ID)2) Nick Zappia (BAK)3) Colton Beck (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 chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.