Boise, ID (12/7/13) - Nathan Deck and Joey Martin each scored a pair of goals as the Stockton Thunder won a penalty-filled game over the Idaho Steelheads, 4-3, at CenturyLink Arena in Boise on Saturday night.
The game, coming on USMC "Teddy Bear Toss Night" in Boise, was played in front of 4,199 fans. The teams were assessed a combined total of 33 penalties - seven of them misconducts of assorted varieties - amounting to 128 penalty minutes as the Steelheads saw their record drop to 11-6-4.
Idaho's Brock Montgomery triggered the teddy-bear toss at the 10:05 mark of the first period when he knocked home a loose puck from the top of the crease, his fourth goal of the season, to make it 1-0 Idaho. That triggered hundreds of teddy bears to come onto the ice from out of the CenturyLink Arena stands that will be donated to the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign.
A Deck power-play goal from the left circle three minutes later tied the game. Martin and Deck each added goals in the second period to extend Stockton's lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Idaho chipped away early in the third when Austin Smith swung from the left-wing wall through the low slot and beat Brian Foster through the legs at 5:44 of the third period to get Idaho within a goal at 3-2. However, just three minutes later, Martin scored from the top of the crease on the power play to re-establish the two-goal lead at 4-2.
From that point, a total of fifteen penalties were assessed over the game's final 11 minutes to keep either team from being able to establish any kind of rhythm. A near-line brawl broke out in front of the Idaho bench at the 16:05 mark of the third, leading to seven separate penalties, putting Idaho on the power play. The Steelheads would cash in when Mitch Wahl's centering pass was redirected home by Anthony Nigro at 16:21 of the third got Idaho within a goal at 4-3. Nigro's team-leading 11th of the season also extended Wahl's ECHL-best point streak with the assist as Wahl now has at least one point in 14 consecutive games.
Idaho pulled the goaltender to gain an extra attacker in the final minute in search of the game-tying goal. An apparent tripping penalty, which would have given Idaho a power play as well, was not called with 30 seconds left and the Thunder were able to keep Idaho away from the net from that point on to secure the win.
Foster was the winning goaltender, turning aside 28 of 31 Idaho shots. Pat Nagle took the loss despite making 37 saves. Stockton's power play wound up being a big factor in the outcome as they converted three of ten man-advantage opportunities. Idaho's power play was 1-8.
Idaho's season-long 11-game homestand rolls on next week when the rival Alaska Aces come to town for games Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Mitch Wahl (1A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Nathan Deck (STK)
2) Joey Martin (STK)
3) Brock Montgomery (ID)