LAS VEGAS – Three goals in the second period and some big saves down the stretch from Josh Robinson were just enough early Monday morning as the Idaho Steelheads held off the Las Vegas Wranglers, 3-2, in a game that began at midnight local time.
Idaho (34-15-5) concluded a difficult, nine-game-in-twelve-day stretch of games with six wins in those nine contests and, with the win Monday, snapped the Wranglers’ nine-game winning streak.
After a scoreless first period, Idaho reeled in two goals in the opening 1:39 of the second period to take the lead. First, at the 58-second mark, a Matt Case point shot was blocked by Las Vegas, but bounced right to Idaho’s Jace Coyle. Coyle teed up a one-time blast from the high slot and buried it, his sixth of the season, to give Idaho a 1-0 lead. Just 41 seconds later, the lead would double when Sam Carrick’s pass from behind the net found Ian Watters all alone in the slot and Watters would bang home his sixth at 1:39 for a two-goal lead.
The lead grew again at 12:12 of the second when Ben Ondrus blew a shot from the high slot past Las Vegas goaltender Joe Fallon off a rush, making it 3-0.
As it turns out, Idaho needed all three to get the win. Las Vegas got a redirection goal at 3:26 of the third from Sean Wiles to cut Idaho’s lead to 3-1. Then, at 8:26, Andrew Saurer scored on a two-man advantage to make it 3-2. The Wranglers would continue to pressure Idaho throughout the third period with the help of three power play chances, but Robinson and the Steelheads defense did enough to hold on. The closest call came with less than two minutes to play, when a puck rolled toward the goal line, but the net was knocked off its pegs well before it could cross the goal line.
There were three fighting majors handed out in the game as Idaho’s Mike Towns dropped the gloves in an entertaining affair with former Steelhead Adam Huxley, Scott Todd registered his team-high 14th fighting major for Idaho in a tilt with Robbie Smith, and defenseman Matt Case scored the knockdown of Wrangler forward Judd Blackwater.
Idaho’s Brett Robinson (two assists) and Las Vegas’s Andrew Saurer (goal, assist) registered the only multi-point nights. Idaho’s Jace Coyle finished with a plus-3 rating to go along with his sixth goal of the season.
Robinson improved his personal record to 19-6-2 with the 40-save effort for Idaho. Fallon took the loss, stopping 11 of 14 before giving way to Jody O’Neill in the third, who stopped all seven shots he faced. Las Vegas had seven power-play opportunities to Idaho’s two, with Idaho going 0-2 on the power play, but turning aside six of the seven man-advantage chances for Las Vegas.
The Steelheads return home on Friday, February 22, to face the San Francisco Bulls at Century Link Arena.
Idaho Steelheads Press Release
Photos by Jack Lima, (Jack.Lima@prohockeynews.com)