BOISE — Theres a reason its called a power play. Nothing can charge up a hockey team and its fans like having a man advantage.
The Idaho Steelheads used two power-play goals to defeat the Utah Grizzlies 2-1 on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
Steelheads coach Brad Ralph said last season he prefers the game when its played even strength.
I might have to retract that, Ralph joked after the win. We have a very good power play this year.
The numbers back that up. Idaho (7-4-2) ranks second in the ECHL with a 22.4 percent success rate on the power play through 13 games.
Its been a big part of our game lately, Steelheads forward Mitch Wahl said. Obviously, we won the game on the power play, so that was huge.
The Steelheads are fortunate to have the top power-play weapon in the league in Wahl. The third-year pro came into Wednesdays game leading the ECHL in power-play points with 11 (three goals, eight assists). So it was no surprise that Wahl was on the ice for both power-play goals. Nor was it a surprise that he notched assists on both goals.
Hes very dangerous on the power play, Ralph said. Hes got poise, hes got patience, hes got a deadly shot and hes got great vision. Hes got all the tools necessary for a power-play player. Our power play runs through him, theres no doubt about it.
Wahl fed forward Tommy Grant for a power-play score in the first period to put Idaho up 1-0. Utah fought back with a second-period goal, but the Steelheads scored the game-winner when Wahl assisted on a slap shot by defenseman Ryan Button midway through the third period.
Of Wahls 112 career points, 58 came on the power play.
Clearly, Wahl starts licking his chops when he sees opponents head for the penalty box.
Theres obviously a little more time and space, he said. I just try to calm it down, dont force anything and see whats there.
Wednesdays win is the fifth game in a row the Steelheads have earned at least a point. They are 4-0-1 in that stretch.
Were on a little streak here and we want to keep it rolling, Wahl said.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424