West Valley City, UT (2/16/15) – The visiting Idaho Steelheads hit two posts, two crossbars and had a fifth puck basically stop on the goal line Monday afternoon in Utah and the home-standing Grizzlies took advantage, beating Idaho, 2-0, in front of 7,157 fans at the Maverik Center.
Idaho (29-16-4, 62 points) remains on the road this week with three games in Stockton in three nights, facing the Thunder Friday, Saturday and Sunday in California.
The game started tight, with neither team able to generate chances in the opening minutes. Idaho finally began to press and appeared set to take the lead on two different occasions - first, an Alex Belzile loose puck rolled toward the goal line but stopped just short before Utah goaltender Igor Bobkov covered up. Then, Rob Linsmayer got loose on a breakaway and beat Bobkov cleanly near-side but his shot clanged off the post. It would be a theme of the night for Idaho.
With the game still tied in the closing seconds of the first, Idaho was caught out-of-position defensively and defenseman Patrick Wellar made the Steelheads pay with a goal from the top of the crease at 19:50 of the first, giving Utah a 1-0 lead. The Grizzlies nearly struck right off the hop in the second period as well but Campbell robbed Alex Krushelnyski with a glove save at the left-wing post just 14 seconds into the middle frame. The curse of the post bit Idaho again less than two minutes later as Ludwig Karlsson shot the puck cleanly past Bobkov only to see the attempt rejected by the left-wing post. Shortly thereafter, Gaelan Patterson came in clean along the left-wing side and had a shot ring out as well. Steelheads players appeared to think the puck hit the post in the back of the net and instantly carom out but the goal judge never turned on the goal light and play continued. Once the play stopped, Idaho asked referee Tyler Puddifant to confer with the goal judge - which is legal - but, without the benefit of replay, Puddifant had to stick with the call at hand which was no goal.
Utah extended the lead at 14:27 on a Michael Pelech shot from the slot to make it 2-0 going into the third period. The Steelheads dominated the final 20 minutes of play, out-shooting Utah 16-3, but Bobkov turned aside each shot, made a bit poke-check on Brett Robinson and was saved by the crossbar again on a Wade MacLeod shot inside the final five minutes.
In the end, Idaho out-shot Utah, 32-24, but could not solve Bobkov as the Steelheads fell, 2-0. It was the first time Idaho had been shut out all season. Campbell was steady in net for the Steelheads, stopping 22 of 24 shots, giving him a .919 save percentage in three starts thus far with the Steelheads.
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 – Rob Linsmayer
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1) Patrick Wellar (UT)2) Igor Bobkov (UT)3) Michael Pelech (UT)
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.