Boise, ID (10/11/16)—The Idaho Steelheads (0-1-1) outshot the Utah Grizzlies(2-0-0) 34-16 in their final tune-up of the preseason at CenturyLink Arena, but it was Mathieu Aubin’s wrist shot 29 seconds into overtime that beat Steelheads’ goaltender Henri Kiviaho and gave the Grizzlies’ a 2-1 win and a sweep of the preseason series.
With Zach Bell in the box for a boarding penalty late in the third period, Aubin, who missed all of 2015-16 for Utah due to injury, found himself with space at the top of the right circle in the Idaho zone and whipped a shot past Kiviaho. It was the only puck to beat the goaltender in 31:07 of work after relieving starting goaltender Landon Bow.
The 4,058 fans in attendance for the Steelheads’ lone preseason game on home ice had reason to cheer at 4:19 of the third period when the Steelheads finally found an answer for Grizzlies’ goaltender Ryan McKay. Idaho fired 26 shots on McKay through 40 minutes with nothing to show for it, but the first shot of the third period found its way through.
Joe Basaraba, cutting across the front of the net from the left-wing corner, got a stick on Zach Bell’s shot just below the cross-bar to redirect the puck past McKay’s glove and tie the score 1-1.
While the Grizzlies didn’t send a lot of rubber at Kiviaho or Bow, they did find the back of the net first with a power play tally at 12:59 of the first period. Mike Banwell found a bouncing puck between the circles and rifled a wrist shot past Bow for a 1-0 Grizzlies lead.
Penalties were an issue for Idaho. After surrendering five power plays in Utah on Monday, they were short-handed four times on Tuesday and were hurt by it twice.
The Steelheads and Grizzlies kick off the regular season with four consecutive meetings, starting with a two-game set at Maverik Center. The season-opener on Friday night is scheduled for 7pm MT, with the game available on ECHLTV and on 93.1FM KTIK.
Goals: Basaraba (1)
Bow: 6 saves on 7 shots; Kiviaho: 8 saves on 9 shots
Power Play: 0-for-5
Penalty Kill: 2-for-4
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Joe Basaraba
- Henri Kiviaho
- Zach Bell
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Joe Basaraba: Goal, plus-1 rating, 4 shots
PLAY OF THE GAME:
This game may not have reached overtime at all if not for a stellar save by Henri Kiviaho in the final minute. With Idaho short-handed and 30 seconds left on the clock, a puck bounced to the right of Kiviaho and right onto a Utah stick. Kiviaho lunged to his right and smothered the shot that was headed for the empty net. It was Kiviaho’s best stop and earned Idaho a preseason point.