Bakersfield, CA (2/27/15) – The Idaho Steelheads netted three goals in the final three minutes of the second period and held off a desperate rally in the third period to defeat the Bakersfield Condors, 5-4, in front of 4,784 fans at Rabobank Arena on Friday night.
The win is the fifth in a row for Idaho (34-16-4) as the team moved back into first place in the ECHL's Pacific Division with 72 points, one point ahead of the Colorado Eagles. The Steelheads wrap up their seven-game road trip on Saturday night in Bakersfield (8 PM Mtn, KTIK 1350).
Idaho controlled the first period, scoring first on Ludwig Karlsson's seventh goal of the season from the right-wing circle off a set-up pass from Brett Robinson behind the net at the 3:17 mark. Each team had scoring chances later in the first as Bakersfield goaltender Frans Tuohimaa robbed Wade MacLeod from the hashmarks on the power play and Brandon Nash clanged a shot from the slot off the crossbar over the shoulder of Idaho's Henri Kiviaho. Idaho held the one-goal lead into the first intermission.
The second period was a frantic display of wild shifts in momentum. The Condors came out hot, firing 16 shot on the Idaho net in the first nine minutes of the period. Kiviaho fought off several shots before the Condors tied the game on a two-on-one rush, as Jordan Kremyr buried the game-tying goal at 7:26 of the second. The pressure continued through the middle stages of the second period until Jonathan Lessard tied the game on a redirection from the top of the crease on the power play at 14:26, wresting all the momentum and giving the home team a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes later, Bakersfield was whistled for back-to-back penalties, giving Idaho nearly a full minute of 5-on-3 power-play time. The Steelheads cashed in at 16:47 of the second when Alex Belzile sent a puck from the top of the left-wing circle toward the front of the net. Robinson redirected it past Tuohimaa to even the game at 2-2 and swing the momentum back in Idaho's favor. From that point, Idaho pressured heavily over the remaining three minutes, peppering the Condors net. At 19:14 of the second, Jefferson Dahl's pass sprung Colton Beck through the left-wing circle for a wrist shot past Tuohimaa to give Idaho a 3-2 lead. Then, with the seconds trickling away, Gaelan Patterson blasted a puck from the left-wing circle. Tuohimaa got a piece of the puck, but it just nudged over the goal line with less than one second showing on the clock. Patterson's 10th of the season extended Idaho's lead to 4-2 in a period that featured 36 combined shots on net and six power plays.
Idaho added what turned out to be the game-winning goal six minutes into the third when Rob Linsmayer shoved a back-hand shot between Tuohimaa's legs at 6:04, assisted by David deKastrozza and Devin DiDiomete, to swell the lead to 5-2. But the Condors weren't done. Nick Zappia deflected an Austin Block centering pass past Kiviaho at 12:42 to make it 5-3 and then, at 16:47, Sebastian Sylveste scored from the low slot to make it a one-goal game.
The Condors, battling for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division, left everything on the ice in pursuit of the game-tying goal but the Steelheads unit of Matt Case, Mike Dalhuisen, Brett Robinson, Ludwig Karlsson and Wade MacLeod dug in deep for the final 1:08 - taking three icings along the way to protect the net - to keep the Condors from evening things up.
Henri Kiviaho made a career-high 38 saves in the win, while Tuohimaa took the loss, allowing five goals on 29 shots before being replaced in the third period by Maxime Lagace. Bakersfield outshot Idaho, 42-32. Each team netted one on the power play, with Idaho going 1-6 and Bakersfield going 1-4.
Linsmayer (goal, two assists), Robinson (goal, assist), Beck (goal, assist) and David deKastrozza (two asissts) all had multi-point nights for Idaho.
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) Rob Linsmayer (ID)2) Jonathan Lessard (BAK)3) Akim Aliu (BAK)
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.