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Steelheads prevail in see-saw affair

Thursday, March 26th
Steelheads prevail in see-saw affair

West Valley City, UT (3/25/2015) – Wade MacLeod scored twice, including the game-winning goal midway through the third period, as the Idaho Steelheads picked up a gritty, 5-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies Wednesday night at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah.

With the win, Idaho (44-17-5) extended its lead in the ECHL's Pacific Division to ten points in the standings.  Idaho now has 93 points while second-place Colorado has 83.  Idaho and Utah will play again on Friday and Saturday in Utah.  Both games begin at 7 PM and can be heard on KTIK 1350 AM.

After a bit of a tentative start, Idaho drew first blood when Jefferson Dahl spotted Alex Belzile crashing toward the net down the slot.  Dahl's pass was banged past Igor Bobkov by Belzile, his 27th of the season, at the 12:58 mark of the opening stanza to make it 1-0.  Utah nearly tied it on a short-handed rush, but TJ Syner's shot banged off the post, and nearly tied it again midway through the first but Chris Rawlings robbed Mathieu Aubin from point-blank range as Idaho carried the one-goal lead into the second period.

Utah evened the ledger quickly in the second on a Cam Wojtala goal at 3:26 but MacLeod gave Idaho the lead right back, less than a minute later, when he redirected Martin Lee's point shot past Bobkov at 4:37 to make it 2-1.  Again, Utah would answer as HT Lenz feathered a perfect pass to spring Alex Krushelnyski on a break which he converted at 10:53 to tie the game at two goals apiece.  Once again, Idaho would quickly respond.  This time, Jake Rutt was credited with his first pro goal at 11:35 off a William Wrenn shot from the right-wing circle to make it 3-2 Steelheads.  But Utah had one more answer before the period expired as Ryan Hayes netted an unusual goal - from his knees, with his back to the net, his back-hand shot tucked inside the far post at 15:33 to tie the game, 3-3, going to the third period.

Utah pressed early in the third, but Idaho eventually leveled the ice and took the lead with just over eight minutes left when Brett Robinson's drop pass in the left-wing circle was hammered home by MacLeod, a blistering one-timer off the tip of Bobkov's glove at 11:57, to make it 4-3.  The two goals give MacLeod 34 on the season, tied for fourth-most in the ECHL with Tulsa's Adam Plaskash.

Idaho put the game away in the final moments when a Belzile centering pass led to an easy empty-net goal for Dahl, his 11th, at 19:42 of the third to finish the scoring.

Neither team converted on the power play, with both squads going 0-3.

Chris Rawlings picked up his seventh win in as many decisions with Idaho this season, stopping 25 of 28 shots.  Bobkov took the loss, making 19 saves on 23 shots.

MacLeod (two goals), Belzile (goal, assist), Dahl (goal, assist) and Colton Beck (two assists) each picked up multiple points in the game.

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 –  Wade MacLeod (2G)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:1)   Wade MacLeod (ID)2)   Alex Belzile (ID)3)   Ryan Hayes (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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