Oklahoma City Blazers Hockey

Blazers End Idaho’s 47-Game Streak, Win 3-0

One of the most anticipated matchups of the Western States Shootout was between the Oklahoma City Blazers and the defending Thorne Cup Champions, the Idaho Steelheads. Coming into the game, the Steelheads were riding a 47-game streak where they had not been defeated in regulation time with their last regulation loss coming on January 16th, 2016. Drennen Atherton would take the net for the Blazers, while Sergei Pysarenko was in for Idaho.

Oklahoma City got things started quickly, opening up the scoring on the first shift of the game. Ross Bartlett picked up the puck and skated it to the right wing side, taking the shot, and Ivan Bondarenko sat on the doorstep for the rebound and the goal just 15 seconds into the match. The goal gave Bondarenko his 10th of the season.

Later into the half, a roughing penalty was called against Idaho’s Dylan Rallis to give Oklahoma City its first power play of the game. Making his OKC debut, Luke Novack held the puck at the point and fed it down low to Victor Ekk. Ekk, on the right wing side, centered the puck to Cory King who found the goal to make it a 2-0 Blazers lead. The 2-0 lead held as both teams went to the locker rooms at halftime.

The second half saw Oklahoma City keep the pressure up against the defending champs, and the Steelheads began to make some errors. Oklahoma City would get another power play opportunity after the Idaho goaltender would make an ill-timed slash against Bondarenko to draw the whistle. The Blazers displayed their passing prowess, cycling the puck around, and finally finding Tomas Rubes in front to make it 3-0 Blazers. Rubes picked up his team-leading 31st point of the season, while Kirill Romanov would pick up career WSHL assist number 98.

OKC held off the Steelheads through the remainder of the second half, earning the shutout against Idaho and snapping their 47-game streak. Drennen Atherton picked up 29 saves in the win as he improved to 10-1-0 on the season and picked up his third shutout of the season. Oklahoma City went 2-for-2 on the power play, scoring on both opportunities, while also going 2-for-2 on the penalty kill through the shutout.

The Blazers gain two points on the El Paso Rhinos in the standings, and now sit nine points back of first place in the Midwest Division. In other Division action, the Rhinos fell to the Colorado Eagles 4-3, the Springfield Express defeated the Bellingham Blazers 4-1, and the Tulsa Oilers fell 4-3 to the Utah Outliers.

Oklahoma City is back in action tomorrow afternoon as they take on the Southern Oregon Spartans at 4:45p Central Time.