BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads (17-12-1) found six different goal-scorers and spread the offense around in a 6-3 victory over the Utah Grizzlies (20-11-1) on Friday night from Idaho Central Arena in front of 5,294 fans, the 11th sellout of the season.
THE GAME’S STORY
The Steelheads got off to a hot start and netted the opening tally within the first six minutes thanks to defenseman Casey Johnson (5:54 1st) to edge ahead, then forward Colton Kehler (PP, 12:20 1st) punched a loose puck through a net-front scramble for the 2-0 advantage. That momentum transitioned into the middle frame, and forward Chase Zieky (10:53 2nd) deflected a shot from the right circle to stretch the lead to 3-0. The Grizzlies pieced together the comeback bid with two tallies in the second period for a 3-2 game in the third frame. Within the first minute, forwards Kyle Marino (0:24 3rd) and Zach Walker (0:56 3rd) notch goals just 24 seconds apart to blow the game ahead, 5-2. Despite a Utah tally, Steelheads forward Luc Brown (EN, 19:48 3rd) sealed off the 6-3 victory.
ICCU 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. IDH – Casey Johnson (Gordie Howe hat-trick)
2. IDH – Luc Brown (goal, 3 assists)
3. IDH – A.J. White (4 assists)
PEPSI PLAYER OF THE GAME
Casey Johnson (D) – Gordie Howe hat-trick (goal, assist, fight)
– Casey Johnson: Johnson earned his first multi-point game of the season as well as his first Gordie Howe hat-trick. He now has 12 points (2-10—12) and shares the assist lead among Steelheads defensemen.
– Luc Brown & A.J. White: Brown and White each earned four-point games with Brown (1-3—4) scoring a goal and White (0-4—4) notching four primary assists. It’s the first four-point games at home since Mar. 25, 2016 when Jefferson Dahl earned four assists.
– Kyle Marino: Marino was one assist away from his own Gordie Howe hat-trick but made an immediate impact in his return with a goal and a fight. He now has seven points (3-4—7) in 11 games this season.
– Jake Kupsky: Kupsky rebounded with a 23-save effort in the win and has kept opponents to three goals or less in 11 of 12 starts. He has won five of his last seven games in net.
CATCH OF THE DAY
The Steelheads posted their sixth game with at least five goals scored and their first since December 17 against Rapid City (5-2 W) to break a four-game losing skid. It’s also the second time the Steelheads have scored six goals or more and the most goals since Opening Night on October 22 when the Steelheads posted seven goals against Utah. Additionally, the Steelheads have won all three games against the Grizzlies with at least five goals scored. In the process, the Steelheads had their most spread out offense of the season with six different goal-scorers for the first time.
ATTENDANCE: 5,294 (11th sellout)
The Steelheads and Grizzlies conclude their series in Boise on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are limited but available at idahosteelheads.com or by calling 208-331-TIXS. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 95.3 KTIK “The Ticket” as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.tv.
With Idaho Steelheads release