The job description for a hockey defenseman can be pretty simple: Prevent the other team from putting the puck in the net.
And while every defenseman on the Steelheads roster will tell you that's their primary responsibility, Idaho's players have been going above and beyond this season and producing on the offensive end as well.
"I've always stressed that I want our D to shoot the puck," coach Brad Ralph said. "As long as they're taking care of their own zone, I don't mind them taking some offensive opportunities."
Matt Case and Jace Coyle are two defensemen who have been taking advantage of those opportunities.
Coyle had two goals and three assists in two games in Utah this past weekend, while Case pitched in with a goal and two assists of his own.
"Myself and Matt, we've been putting a lot of pucks on net and getting a lot of shots through," said Coyle, who came into Tuesday's 3-2 win over the San Francisco Bulls with 21 points in 25 games with Idaho.
"I've always kind of been a smaller defenseman, so it's been one of those things I need to do to keep moving up the levels," the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Coyle said. "It's something I enjoy doing, helping out on the power play, and it's always fun to contribute."
Case, meanwhile, has completely reinvented his game.
He came into the season with 21 points in 95 games with Idaho, including playoff contests. This season, he has already scored 32 points in 50 games.
Case said as his confidence has grown on the ice, so has his offensive output.
"You gain that confidence when you're winning games, and it just allows you to do a little more," he said.
Ralph said he's seen Case become a much more effective player offensively.
"At the start of the year, he was having difficulty getting his shots through," Ralph said. "But now he's finding lanes and not overthinking too much. He's just pounding pucks on the net, and he's got a great shot."
Ralph said his system is at its best when defensemen are contributing.
"You have to score goals, right? I think it's important to have mobile, puck-moving defensemen," he said. "It's good to have quality athletes who can do different things, and I think we've been fortunate to have those."
Another player who fits that description was added back to Idaho's mix Tuesday, as defenseman Jeremie Blain was reassigned to Idaho by the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Blain, who pitched in with an assist on Idaho's first goal Tuesday, has 19 points in 31 games with Idaho.
"He's a very heads-up defenseman," Case said. "He's good at getting pucks to the net. That's how offensive defensemen are, they find ways to get pucks to the net."
NOTES: Brett Robinson, Sam Carrick and Tristan King scored Idaho's goals in Tuesday's win. King leads Idaho's active roster with 18 goals and 35 points. Idaho (32-13-5) improved to 18-3-2 at home. Goaltender Tyler Beskorowany improved to 15-8-4 after stopping 35-of-37 shots. With seven healthy defenseman, Ralph waived veteran Kory Scoran, who has practiced with the team, but hasn't appeared in a game this season. Ralph didn't rule out Scoran returning to the team.