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Nigro leads Steelies to OT victory in home opener

Nigro leads Steelies to OT victory in home opener
Boise, ID (10/23/13) - Anthony Nigro scored late in regulation to force overtime and then knocked home the game-winning tally in the extra session Wednesday night as the Idaho Steelheads won their home opener, 3-2, over the San Francisco Bulls at CenturyLink Arena.

Idaho (1-1) also got multi-point games from Mitch Wahl (two assists) and William Rapuzzi (goal, assist) in the victory.

The goaltending battle, featuring former teammates Josh Robinson (Idaho) and Tyler Beskorowany (San Francisco) stole the show for the first two periods. Aside from a pair of fights, including a heavyweight tilt between Idaho's Jeremy Yablonski and San Francisco's Riley Emmerson, the story was the work of the two netminders. Robinson turned aside 22 shots over the first two periods, including point-blank scoring chances from Dale Mitchell, Brent Parnham and Jordan Morrison. Meanwhile, Beskorowany stopped all 26 shots he faced through two periods, including a Tommy Grant breakaway and a glove save to rob Justin Mercier in the second frame.

Idaho drew first blood early in the third on its first power play opportunity of the night, thanks to a bit of good fortune as Wahl's stick snapped on a slap-shot attempt from the center point. The puck fluttered onto the tape of Rapuzzi, who turned and fired home his first professional goal from the slot at 1:25 of the third to put Idaho on top, 1-0.

San Francisco would get the next two - a Chris Crane power-play marker at 8:28 of the third to tie the game and a Mitchell finish of a nice feed from Mark Lee behind the net at 15:57 of the third to put Utah on top, 2-1.

With less than a minute to go and the Idaho net empty for an extra attacker, Morrison was whistled for cross-checking for San Francisco to put Idaho on a de-facto two-man advantage for the final 38 seconds. Off an offensive-zone draw, Idaho held the puck in, Carl Sneep passed from center point to Wahl on the left wing, and Wahl delivered a perfect, cross-ice pass through traffic to Nigro at the bottom of the right circle. Nigro snapped the puck under the crossbar, just beating Beskorowany, with 18 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

In the extra session, Idaho drew another offensive-zone draw less than two minutes in. Rapuzzi won the faceoff forward and, as he fell to the ice, he flipped the puck toward the top of the crease to an awaiting Nigro, who tapped the puck past a helpless Beskorowany at 1:52 of the extra session to win the game for Idaho.

Both goaltenders were strong, with Robinson picking up the win with 34 saves on 36 shots. Beskorowany took the loss despite stopping 39 of 42 Idaho shots in the contest.

Idaho's power play converted on both of its chances, going 2-2, while the Steelheads penalty kill was 4-5.

The Steelheads play at Colorado Friday and Saturday inside the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO. Gametime each night is 7 PM and both games can be heard live on KTIK (1350 AM). The team returns home November 1 to host the Ontario Reign at CenturyLink Arena.

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Anthony Nigro (2G/1A)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Anthony Nigro (ID)
2) Josh Robinson (ID)
3) William Rapuzzi (ID)
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