Steelheads Looking to Bounce Back
The Idaho Steelheads trail 2-1 in their Kelly Cup series against the Colorado Eagles. Game 4 is tonight and Brian McCormack lays out the essential details in todays game story:
The Steelheads look to bounce back and draw even on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena in Game 4 of the Mountain Division Semifinals against the Colorado Eagles. Colorado has taken the last two games of the series after Idaho had won the opener in Loveland. The Steelheads have not lost consecutive games on home ice since the first week of February, and they’ll hope history is on their side as well. The Steelheads trailed the Eagles after three games in the last playoff series between the squads in 2014, but went on to win in six games.
The Eagles’ special teams units were both effective in Game 3, scoring a power play goal from Alex Belzile and a shorthanded goal from Casey Pierro-Zabotel on their way to a 4-2 win at CenturyLink Arena. Shawn St. Amant and Julien Nantel also scored for the Eagles, while the Steelheads power play did their heavy-lifting with goals form Jefferson Dahl and Kellan Lain. Dahl left the game injured on a charging penalty by Sean Zimmerman in the second period. Dahl did not return, while Zimmerman has been suspended for three games.
Driving the Offense…
Rob Linsmayer earned an assist on Kellan Lain’s power play goal on Wednesday, giving Linsmayer at least a point in each game of the series with two goals and two assists. The power play has produced three of Idaho’s seven goals in the series, but Linsmayer has been effective in all areas with a shorthanded goal, an even-strength goal, and a power play assist. Linsmayer also has nine shots in the series to tie for the team lead. Linsmayer has played nine career playoff games against the Eagles dating back to 2014, totaling three goals and eight points.
Eagles goaltender Lukas Hafner has won the last two games after backing up Kent Simpson in Game 1. Hafner only made ten appearances during the regular season for Alaska and Colorado, but including the playoffs he has seen Idaho four times. In those games, he has gone 3-0-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Idaho will certainly look to put more shots on Hafner. The Steelheads’ fewest shots in a game this season was 20 and for a period was three. The Steelheads had just 21 shots in Game 3 and four shots in the first period of each of Hafner’s two starts.
Friend Turned Foe…
Former Steelheads Alex Belzile has been a thorn in Idaho’s side through the first three games. Belzile helped open the scoring in Game 3 when he went behind the Idaho net, forced a turnover, and fed the puck in front for Shawn St. Amant’s first of the series. Belzile closed the scoring with a power play one-timer in the final second of the middle period. Belzile has two power play goals, three points, and five shots in the last two games.
Idaho Leaders Eagles Leaders
Goals: Dahl/Linsmayer (2) Goals: Belzile (2)
Assists: Merchant/Faust (3) Assists: Register (2)
Points: Linsmayer (4) Points: Register/Belzile (3)
Plus/Minus: Dahl/Harstad (+2) Plus/Minus: Zimmerman (+5)
Power Play Goals: Dahl (2) Power Play Goals: Belzile (2)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.67) Goals-Against Average: Hafner (1.49)