(Boise, ID) – Jerry Kuhn turned in another outstanding performance in net, turning aside 41 Bakersfield shots during regulation and overtime, as the Idaho Steelheads rallied past the Bakersfield Condors, 2-1, in a shootout Friday night in Boise.
The game, played in front of 4,180 fans at CenturyLink Arena featured 83 combined shots on goal but just two tallies, one aside, prior to the game-ending shootout.
The Condors, desperately needing a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, came out firing in the first period, peppering Kuhn with 18 shots in the game’s first 20 minutes. Jesse Gimblett, activated from the injured reserve prior to the game, gave Bakersfield the lead with a rebound goal at the 5:01 mark of the first period, his 13th goal of the season.
Idaho (25-29-7, 57 points) evened things up in the second period on a hard-working shift spearheaded by Derek LeBlanc. LeBlanc led an aggressive forecheck, nearly single-handedly keeping the puck in the offensive zone for nearly 20 seconds. Finally, Aaron Lewicki picked up the puck along the right-hand wall. He got the puck to Chad Nehring, who fed it back to Lewicki behind the net. Lewicki then delivered a perfect centering pass to Patrick Kennedy from the back wall to the top of the crease and Kennedy banged it home at 14:09 of the second to tie the game at one. For Kennedy, it was his seventh goal of his rookie campaign.
Neither team scored in the third period thanks to excellent work by both goaltenders. Bakersfield’s Bryon Pitton stopped 14 Idaho shots and Kuhn denied 12 Condor shots over the final minute, including three game-changers. The first two came midway through the frame as Kuhn, sprawled out, made a pair of leg-pad saves on Casey Pierro-Zabotel at the right-hand post. The third came with 20 seconds left in regulation with Bakersfield on the power play, a glove save that robbed Peter Boyd of a game-winning goal from the slot for Bakersfield.
There was no scoring in the overtime session, leading to a shootout. Derek LeBlanc netted a goal in the second round with a quick forehand wrist shot, but Boyd tied it up in the fourth round for Bakersfield. Then, with Idaho’s fourth shot, Marty Flichel executed a pretty, backhand-to-forehand deke to open up space under Pitton’s leg pads for the go-ahead goal. Kuhn stoned Pierro-Zabotel in the fifth and final round to secure the victory.
Both goaltenders were terrific, with Kuhn stopping 41 of 42 in the win. Pitton was the tough-luck loser, making 40 saves on 41 shots for Bakersfield. Neither team scored on the power play, Idaho going 0-3, Bakersfield going 0-1.
The Steelheads and Condors conclude their season series Saturday night on Pepsi Cap Night at CenturyLink Arena. Puck drop is at 7:10 PM. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office (208.331.TIXS) or by logging on to www.idahosteelheads.com.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Patrick Kennedy
AQUA FINA “3 STARS” -
(1) Jerry Kuhn (ID)
(2) Bryon Pitton (BAK)
(3) Patrick Kennedy (ID)