Boise, ID – Riley Armstrong scored three goals, including two in the third period to break a 3-3 tie, as the Utah Grizzlies defeated the Idaho Steelheads, 5-3, in the ECHL season-opener for each team.
The game was played in front of 4,296 at Boise’s CenturyLink Arena.
Utah struck first, barely two minutes into the game when Kory Falite netted the first goal of the season to make it 1-0 Grizzlies. Idaho answered before the period expired when three rookies teamed on each of their first professional points with Corey Tamblyn and Austin Fyten delivering the puck to Scott Todd. Todd crept down to the top of the circles and beat Andrew Engelage cleanly to tie the game at one at the 12:35 mark of the first.
Neither team would score until the early stages of the second frame when Brad Mills would give Utah a 2-1 lead but, once again, Idaho would answer on a goal from a blue-liner. This time, it was Jeremie Blain netting his first pro goal on a nice feed from Andrew Carroll, a rocket wrist-shot past Engelage on the power play to tie the game at two at the 17:49 mark. Before the crowd could return to their seats, Utah took the lead back on a scramble in front of the net as Armstrong knocked a loose puck home to give Utah a 3-2 lead going into the third.
Idaho tied the game seven minutes into the third when Carroll knocked a loose puck out of the air into the net, his first goal as a Steelhead as Fyten picked up his second assist of the night.
But Utah answered Idaho’s challenge once again with two Armstrong goals in the final ten minutes of regulation. The second one, to make it 5-3, came moments after a Tristan King blast that would have tied the game clanged off the post.
Engelage was the winner in net, stopping 37 of 40 Idaho shots. Tyler Beskorowany took the loss after saving 25 of 30 Utah shots. Both teams had success on the power play as Utah went 2-4 and Idaho went 1-2.
The Steelheads and Grizzlies play again Saturday night at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. The game will be broadcast live on KTIK (1350 AM) as well as CableOne Channel 17 with gametime at 7 PM.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Andrew Carroll
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Riley Armstrong (UT)
2) Andrew Carroll (ID)
3) Scott Todd (ID)