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Root returns to ECHL with hat trick in 7-4 win

Saturday, March 28th
Root returns to ECHL with hat trick in 7-4 win

West Valley City, UT (3/27/2015) – Jesse Root netted three goals - a hat trick - in his return from the American Hockey League Friday night as the Idaho Steelheads held off the Utah Grizzlies, 7-4, in a wild game in front of 5,311 fans at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.

Idaho improved its overall record to 45-17-5 and, with 95 points, decreased its magic number to five points to clinch the ECHL's Pacific Division title.  The Steelheads and Grizzlies meet again Saturday night at 7 PM, the game can be heard live on KTIK 1350 AM in the Treasure Valley.

The Steelheads jumped on Utah immediately off the opening faceoff as the Grizzlies turned the puck over in their own zone.  Steve Quailer picked up the loose puck, skated to the left-wing goal line before dropping a pass to Root, who banged home the first tally of the game just 17 seconds into the contest, the fastest goal to start a game for the Steelheads this season.

That score held into the second period, when Idaho received a 5-on-3 power play opportunity.  Colton Beck and Brett Robinson teamed up to get the puck to Wade MacLeod in the right-wing circle and MacLeod blistered a one-timer past Igor Bobkov at 6:36 of the second to make it 2-0.  Utah crept back in on a Channing Boe power-play goal six minutes later before Alex Belzile extended his point streak to ten consecutive games with a rebound goal off a Gaelan Patterson shot at 18:20 of the second period, giving Idaho a 3-1 lead after two periods.  Belzile now has 28 goals on the season.

That set the stage for a wild third period that saw 28 combined shots and seven combined goals.  Utah got the first two, one when an errant bounce wound up in the slot on the tape of Mathieu Aubin for a wrist shot at 1:46 and the second on an Alex Krushelnyski redirection at 3:39 of the third to tie the game at 3-3.

Idaho took the lead back at 7:27 on a short-handed shot from Root in the slot, assisted by Shawn Boutin, to make it 4-3.  Immediately following, Idaho went on the power play but it was Utah who capitalized as a pass around the boards evaded Belzile, springing Branden Walker on a short-handed break at 8:21 to tie the game at 4-4.

It stayed tied until the final three minutes when the Steelheads pulled away.  First, it was Jefferson Dahl spinning away from HT Lenz near the bottom of the right-wing circle.  From a near-impossible angle, Dahl snapped a shot short-side over Bobkov's shoulder with exactly three minutes left to snap the tie.  Just over a minute later, Root capitalized on another defensive-zone turnover by Utah to finish his first professional hat trick with a snap from the slot that snuck through Bobkov's legs at 18:08 to give the Steelheads a 6-4 lead.  The scoring was completed at 19:40 when MacLeod found Levi Nelson alone in the offensive zone for an empty-net goal, his fourth of the season, to make it 7-4.

Chris Rawlings improved his personal record to 8-0 with the win, stopping 32 of 36 shots.  Bobkov took the loss, surrendering six goals on 42 shots as Idaho out-shot Utah, 42-36.  Each team netted a short-handed goal and a power play goal in the game, with Idaho's power-play unit going 1-6.

Root (three goals), MacLeod (goal, assist), Patterson (two assists) and Beck (two assists) each had multi-point nights for Idaho.

Idaho returns home next week to host the Alaska Aces on Wednesday, April 1, before welcoming the Colorado Eagles back to Boise for games on Friday and Saturday (April 3 and 4) at CenturyLink Arena.  The weekend dates will be the team's final charity jersey auction of the season as the team will wear special jerseys to be auctioned off to raise money for the Jayden DeLuca Foundation.  Tickets available for all Idaho home games by calling 208-331-8497.

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME –  Jesse Root (3G)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1)   Jesse Root (ID)2)   Channing Boe (UT)3)   Mathieu Aubin (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.

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