Steelies hold on to beat Aces & their three NHL forwards

Steelies hold on to beat Aces & their three NHL forwards
Boise, ID (11/21/12) – A Nick Mazzolini shot rang off the post with less than five seconds left in the game and the ensuing Nate Thompson rebound was batted out of the air by Adrian Foster as the Idaho Steelheads withstood a spirited rally Wednesday night, defeating the Alaska Aces, 2-1.

With the win, Idaho (10-4-2) moved into a tie for first place in the ECHL's Mountain Conference with the Aces. Each team has 22 points in the standings. Alaska saw its six-game winning streak come to an end in front of a Thanksgiving-eve crowd of 4,299.

Josh Robinson, freshly-returned from Texas of the American Hockey League, stopped 30 of 31 shots for Idaho to improve his personal record in net to 6-0-1.

Neither team scored in a fast-paced first period. Alaska's Kane Lafranchise used some nifty stick work to deny Justin Dowling on the doorstep and Robinson made a big save in the closing minute of the period on a Mazzolini blast from the left circle.

Idaho would get on the board twice in the second, both on scrappy rebounds. First, at 2:29, Alaska's Mark Guggenberger stopped a Kael Mouillierat shot from the right circle but couldn't find the loose puck on the rebound. Idaho's Jacob Cepis gathered the rebound at the bottom of the circle and lifted the rebound past Guggenberger before he could react. Cepis's fourth of the season gave Idaho a 1-0 lead. A little over six minutes later, Idaho would strike again on the rebound. This time, Adrian Foster's shot from the right circle was denied by Guggenberger, but he left a rebound at the edge of the crease for Austin Smith to smack home. The goal, coming at 8:50 of the second, gave Idaho a 2-0 lead.

Alaska cut into the Idaho lead midway through the third on a Mazzolini redirection as the Aces controlled play in the final frame. Robinson was asked to make a couple of big saves to keep Idaho's lead at one until the final minute. That's when the Idaho goaltender got some help from the right-hand post and Foster during a final, frantic Alaska flurry. A loose puck rolled into the high slot where Mazzolini pounced for a quick wrist shot. The shot zipped past Robinson's blocker, but ricocheted off the post The puck bounced through the slot to Robinson's left and onto the backhand of Nate Thompson, who tried to lift a quick shot into the net to beat the buzzer. A diving Adrian Foster flipped his hand up in the air, deflecting the Thompson shot, and the clock ran out in the ensuing scramble.

Guggenberger almost matched Robinson save-for-save, stopping 26 of 28 Idaho shots in the loss. Neither team scored on the power play. Idaho was 0-4, Alaska was 0-2.

Idaho stays home after the Thanksgiving holiday to host the Las Vegas Wranglers on Friday and Saturday after the Thanksgiving holiday Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208.331.8497 or by going online at www.idahosteelheads.com

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Austin Smith

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Austin Smith (ID)
2) Jacob Cepis (ID)
3) Josh Robinson (ID)