Jack Campbell’s season in Idaho was impressive every way you look at it. During his 20 game stay in Boise, the 2010 first-round pick led the ECHL in goals-against average (1.68) and save percentage (.944), was twice named the league’s Goaltender of the Week, and was the Goaltender of the Month in January.
“I was very fortunate to be a part of the Steelheads this season. The Steelies were a close group that made me feel welcome from the moment I got there,” said Campbell. “Personally, I felt I had a great deal of success in Boise because the team and coaching staff made me feel so comfortable.”
And while Steelheads fans can smile about the whole body of work, Campbell’s most notable performance of the season arguably came in a two-game stretch at the start of January, Campbell’s third and fourth starts as a Steelhead, when he led Idaho to two lock-down wins over divisional opponents.
With Campbell between the pipes, the Steelheads earned back-to-back shutouts on January 2nd and January 8th against the Colorado Eagles and Utah Grizzlies. For the first time in the ECHL era, the Steelheads were 1-0 winners in consecutive games.
“I really can't remember the last time I was part of a team that posted back to back 1-0 wins,” said Campbell, who had four shutouts with Idaho this year. “It's a huge confidence boost for me and also for my teammates when you can shut down your opponent and win some low scoring games. I credit those wins to how great our team defense was.”
One night after Colorado’s Eric Levine came out on the winning end of a goaltending duel at CenturyLink Arena, he and Jack Campbell geared up for Round 2 and Campbell shut the door for the first Steelheads shutout of the season.
Emil Molin’s goal eight minutes into the first period was all Campbell would need, making 28 saves on the night. The win moved the Steelheads within three points of first place in the West Division, continuing the climb they started in mid-December. Two of Campbell’s best stops came late in the third period, when he stopped a 2-on-1 chance on Everett Sheen and then stoned Adrian Veideman on a bang-bang play in front of the net.
“Jack was really good,” said Head Coach Neil Graham following that game. “He made some big saves in the first period that allowed us to get our legs going and get that first goal. From there, he made some key stops in the third and guys battled hard in front of him. He battled hard for them.”
The Steelheads took the ice again on January 8th at Maverik Center, with the Steelheads continuing their pursuit of the Grizzlies at the top of the standings. Campbell was even better on that night in another goaltenders’ duel, this time with Ryan Faragher.
Again the Steelheads would take care of all the scoring early, with Jefferson Dahl netting a power play goal just 2:20 into the game. From that point on, it was Campbell’s show, stopping 37 shots on the night for another 1-0 win that moved the Steelheads within a point of first place. Campbell stopped 20 shots in the third period, including several big stops in the final minutes on Ryan Walters and Josh Macdonald to secure the win.
“Winning back-to-back games 1-0 against two strong opponents said a lot about the team and coaching staff we had. It gave all the guys confidence that we had the character in the dressing room that championship teams possess.”
Campbell’s shutout streak would end the next night, finishing at 181:21. That was only the beginning for Campbell, who won 14 games with the Steelheads.
“One of the greatest parts about being in Boise was the wonderful fans we had. They were always loud and cheering us on, which plays a huge role in having the amount of success we had,” said Campbell.
“I am so thankful for all my teammates, coaches, training staff, and fans up in Boise. Thank you guys for welcoming me to the team this season and for all the wonderful memories.”