The Idaho Steelheads put on a show for their season-ticket holders on Monday night, hosting their annual skills showcase at CenturyLink Arena. Fans got a front-row seat right out on the ice to see their favorite players test their talents in events such as accuracy shooting, hardest shot, and the breakaway contest.
Team Canada, composed of the Steelheads hailing from the Great White North, battled Team Planet USA, featuring American-born players and Finnish defenseman Miro Karjalainen. Team Planet USA prevailed with a 14-8 victory in the event, with some impressive performances throughout the evening.
After going 4-for-5 and 4-for-4 the past two years, Jefferson Dahl again hit all four targets when shooting for the Americans. He was the only player to hit all four, and that was enough to best Anthony Luciani and earn the USA a point. David Glen answered for Canada, hitting three targets to Charlie Dodero’s two. The event would end in a tie, as the third round ended with Corbin Baldwin and Will Merchant each hitting three targets.
This event tested the goalies, with players stationed 15 feet from the net and rifling eight shots on goal off of passes from each corner. Rob Linsmayer led off with a bang, sniping four goals over the shoulder of Landon Bow to give the US a point. The second round went to Brandon Anselmini, who beat Branden Komm for three goals on eight shots. The tie-breaking round was a goaltending clinic. Caleb Herbert beat Bow for just one goal, while Komm stopped Kellan Lain on all eight shots to earn an American point.
Puck Control Relay:
This event was all Canada, as Brandon Anselmini, Coltyn Sanderson, and Brian Nugent bested Travis Walsh, Miro Karjalainen, and Kyle Jean. Anselmini got out to strong leads in both races, while Nugent anchored Team Canada and was able to hold off Jean in the final moments each time.
The most impressive event of the evening was the hardest shot competition, in which three Steelheads reached 101 mph. Charlie Dodero, Miro Karjalainen, and Joe Basaraba all hit the high mark, with Dodero and Karjalainen throwing in additional 101 mph cannons for good measure. Dodero’s other attempts were measured at 99 and 100 mph. Karjalainen’s final laser earned the Americans a bonus point. In the goaltenders event, Branden Komm’s 53 mph blast bested Landon Bow’s 48 mph attempt to earn another point for the US.
Landon Bow and Branden Komm haven’t given up a shootout goal all season, and they showed why in this event by combining to stop 15 shooters. Travis Walsh scored for the Americans with a nifty between the legs move, while Joe Faust used his glove as a decoy to beat Bow. Several players broke out their fanciest moves, with Joe Basaraba and others even flipping the puck onto their blade and firing lacrosse-style. Coltyn Sanderson flipped the puck into the air in the neutral zone and didn’t let it hit the ice again, batting it into the air until reaching the net, kicking it to his stick again, and slapping it wide. Again in the shootout, the Americans had the better outcome to clinch a win.
Following the event the Steelheads met with the fans for autographs and a team photo.