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Long road trip ends on sour note

Sunday, February 1st
Long road trip ends on sour note

Ontario, CA (1/31/15) – The Idaho Steelheads ended a six-game, eleven-day road trip with a solid effort but not a positive result as the team was defeated by the Ontario Reign, 4-1, in front of more than 9,000 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena Saturday evening.

Idaho's record dropped to 27-14-4 (58 points).  The team returns home on Wednesday night to host the Utah Grizzlies at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.

Neither team punched through in the first period as the goaltenders, Idaho's Olivier Roy and Ontario's Joe Cannata, were solid.  Roy came up with two big saves on the penalty-kill in close on Derek Couture and Cannata made a nice save on a Colton Beck re-direct to keep the game scoreless through one period.

The game swung quickly early in the second period.  An Ontario power-play shot evaded Roy, who dropped to the ice awkwardly after the puck went into the net.  Roy, who came into the game leading the ECHL in wins with 22, was forced to leave the game and rookie Henri Kiviaho came in to replace him just 1:16 into the second period.  Two minutes later, the first shot Kiviaho faced also found the net as Robert Czarnik made a nice, backhand-to-forehand deke to score at 3:31 to take a 2-0 lead.

Idaho actually carried the bulk of play and had the majority of chances in the period as Cannata had to fend off ten Idaho shots, many of them good scoring chances.  Ontario picked up a big insurance goal when Kiviaho couldn't stop a Couture shot near the right-wing post at 15:51 of the second period to make it 3-0.  In all, Ontario scored on three of its five shots in the middle frame.

The Steelheads tried to push back in the third, with Cannata making a big stop on a back-door attempt from Shawn Boutin at the right-wing post and another big stop on Wade MacLeod at the left-wing post to keep Idaho silenced until the mid-point of the period.  Finally, Idaho broke through at 10:54 when Taylor Peters won a battle to come into the zone at the right point.  He was joined on the rush by Beck and Cannata made the initial save on Beck at the top of the crease but Beck stuck with it to bang home the rebound, his seventh of the season, to make it 3-1.  Idaho nearly shaved into the lead on another short-handed chance three minutes later, but a David deKastrozza backhand zipped just wide of the post.  Ontario sealed the deal with just over a minute to play on a Judd Blackwater empty-net goal to close out the scoring.

Kiviaho wound up taking the loss for Idaho after stopping 12 of 14 shots.  Cannata was tremendous in net for Ontario, stopping 25 of 26 Idaho shots as the Steelheads out-shot the Reign, 26-23.  Idaho was 0-3 on the power play, but did net its ninth short-handed goal of the season.

Idaho returns to home ice on Wednesday, February 4, to host the Utah Grizzlies on Dollar Beer Night at CenturyLink Arena.   Small beers are just one dollar through the end of the second period, courtesy of Bud Light.  Tickets are available by calling 208-331-8497.

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Colton Beck (G)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:(1) Derek Couture (ONT)(2) Robert Czarnik (ONT)(3) Dennis Brown (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.

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