1. Home
  2. News
  3. Let’s Look Back: Coming Up Aces

Let’s Look Back: Coming Up Aces

Sunday, July 17th
Let’s Look Back: Coming Up Aces

Every so often, you get a game that gives the fans just a little taste of everything. Steelheads fans got everything they could ask for and more at CenturyLink Arena on March 2nd when Jefferson Dahl’s breakaway just 13 seconds into overtime gave the Steelheads a 4-3 win over the Alaska Aces and their only overtime win of the season on home ice.

The Steelheads were rolling along heading into that first game of a three-game series with the Aces, Idaho unbeaten in regulation in its prior five games (3-0-2) and holding a three-point lead in the West Division over the Utah Grizzlies. The Aces were struggling, going 1-4-1 in their previous six and near the bottom of the conference. Still, as fans of this rivalry know well, no game between these two teams is ever easy, and the back-and-forth affair was one of the most entertaining contests of the season.

“At that point in the season, whether a team is first or last, you know they’re fighting for something, whether it be a playoff spot or a contract for next season,” said Steelheads defenseman Zach Bell. “The back-and-forth games just happen sometimes and you have to accept the challenge. Is it tough? Of course, there isn’t a shift in a game that’s ever easy.”

Jake Fallon wasted no time getting things started, scoring just 1:08 into the game. Aces defenseman Ryan Tesink committed an early blunder, throwing a puck right between the circles in his own zone and right onto the tape of Fallon. The Steelheads rookie buried a laser past goaltender Jacob DeSerres for his fifth of the season. The opening tally gave Fallon goals in back-to-back games.

That early goal would hold up as the only marker of the game until 6:58 of the second period, when Aces’ forward Justin Breton batted a rebound out of mid-air and past goaltender Philippe Desrosiers to tie the score. Breton wouldn’t be finished for the evening, a strong producer scoring five goals against Idaho for the Aces last season.

The Steelheads certainly had their chances in the meantime, perhaps none better than an Andre Morrissette breakaway stopped by DeSerres, who then managed to keep his leg along the goal line to thwart several stuff attempts by Joe Basaraba on the rebound.

Basaraba would not be denied later in the game, restoring the Steelheads one-goal lead just 44 seconds after Breton’s equalizer. Again it was Morrissette cutting to the net on a breakaway and once again it was Basaraba finding the rebound, this time finishing for his sixth of the season. It would launch a season-high four-game goal scoring streak for Basaraba.

The scrappy Aces responded once again less than two minutes later, with Garet Hunt driving the net to tap in a Tesink pass and make it a 2-2 game.

Of course, the punch-counterpunch flow of the game didn’t just apply to the scoreboard. This was also the night that Steelheads fans would see firsthand what Zach Bell could bring to the table not only as a shutdown defender but also as a tone-setter.

It was Bell’s fourth game as a Steelhead, and at the midway point of the second period he would meet up with Collin Valcourt at center ice for the first scrap of his Steelheads career.

“I didn’t like the way we came out in the second period. I thought we were a little flat,” Graham would say after the game. “I thought Bell stepped up huge for us to spark some energy.”

Bell and Valcourt got their swings in during the heavyweight bout that finished with both players on the ice underneath the linesmen. It wouldn’t take long for them to meet again.

Five minutes into the third period, after a heavy check on Zack Kamrass behind the Idaho net, Bell again found himself toe-to-toe with Valcourt, this time a fight that was much shorter. Bell connected with the first punch, sending Valcourt to the ice and to the locker room for the remainder of the game.

“I have the utmost respect for anyone who is willing to risk putting themselves out there in front of a crowd of people and drop the gloves. I’m sure if you asked anybody, they would say it’s not an easy thing to do,” said Bell, who dropped the gloves five times with Idaho last season. “That night, I wanted to get my teammates fired up so we could make a push to win our division.”

That push continued into the third period, with Rob Linsmayer trading long-range wrist shot goals with Breton (second goal of the night) to send the two teams to overtime tied 3-3.

That overtime session ended almost immediately, as Linsmayer collected the puck off the center-ice faceoff win and sprung Dahl in alone on a breakaway. Dahl was one of Idaho’s most successful shootout artists last season, most often using the same move while going 4-for-6 on the year. Dahl would skate between the circles, lower his back shoulder, and rifle a wrister blocker side. He used that method again pm his OT rush, with his shot hitting DeSerres, floating up into the air, and rolling over the goal line for a Steelheads win.

“We always tell the guys that they don’t have to pick the perfect spot,” said Graham. “If you shoot the puck hard, sometimes they go in.”

Following the game, Linsmayer was all smiles with his 12th multipoint performance and an assist on Dahl’s first career OT winner.

“Dahl was open and I found him, but he’s so powerful,” said Linsmayer of Dahl’s winner. “He just powered it right through .”

With the win, the Steelheads extended their lead in the West Division to five points. As Bell mentioned, no game during the ECHL season is an easy one. But on this night the red-hot Steelheads proved that for every setback, they had an answer. It’s no surprise they would ultimately extend their unbeaten streak to eight games.

Latest News

More News
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS
STEELHEADS FACE ELIMINATION TOMORROW AFTER GAME FOUR LOSS
STEELHEADS FACE ELIMINATION TOMORROW AFTER GAME FOUR LOSS
THIRD PERIOD RALLY COMES UP SHORT AS MAVERICKS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD
THIRD PERIOD RALLY COMES UP SHORT AS MAVERICKS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD

Get Hockey Updates

Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about news and upcoming games!