Idaho improves to 32-13-5 on the season with the win and, at 69 points, within six points of conference-leading Alaska. The Steelheads are also just two points away from formally clinching a spot in the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoffs in April.
The visiting Bulls charged hard out of the opening gates, getting the game's first goal at 4:41 off the stick of defenseman Scott Langdon. His shot from the left circle stuck in the padding in the net, leaving everyone but the CenturyLink Arena goal judge unsure initially if the puck went in. Langdon's second tally of the season gave San Francisco a lead they'd hold through the rest of the first period.
Idaho responded with a strong second period, starting on the power play in the opening minute of the frame. Tristan King's shot from the top of the left circle was deflected to the right edge of the crease where Brett Robinson calmly tapped the rebound in at the 25-second mark of the second to tie the game at one. Idaho would take the lead at 9:20 of the second when Matt Case threaded a pass from the top of the right circle to the left edge of the slot. Sam Carrick was ready, one-timing the pass past Taylor Nelson for his 15th goal of the season to give Idaho a 2-1 lead.
Five minutes later, Idaho would pick up a big insurance goal as Ken Trentowski helped to keep the puck in the offensive zone at the left point. The loose puck was picked up by David Toews, who carried it into the left circle where he dropped a pass into the left corner for Tyler Gron. Gron delivered a sharp pass to the top of the crease where Tristan King banged home his 18th goal of the season, tying a career-high, to give Idaho a 3-1 lead at 14:23 of the second.
San Francisco brought all kinds of pressure in the third, out-shooting Idaho 20-4 in the period, but Beskorowany made several key saves, including a doorstep legpad denial of a Dean Oullet shot to keep Idaho up by a pair of goals. The Bulls drew closer on the power play at the 15-minute mark as Jordan Morrison snapped a forehand into the top corner from the slot to make it 3-2.
With a minute to go, the Bulls pulled their netminder to bring an extra attacker on the ice in search of the tying goal. But a Cody Carlson tripping penalty negated that and allowed Idaho to run out the clock on the victory.
Beskorowany stopped 35 of 37 shots to pick up his 15th win of the season. Nelson took the loss for San Francisco, stopping 30 of 33. Idaho was 1-4 on the power play, the 10th consecutive game where Idaho has scored at least one goal on the power play.
The Steelheads and Bulls play again Wednesday night on Dollar Beer Night presented by Bud Light. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208.331.8497 or by going online at www.idahosteelheads.com
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Brett Robinson
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Tristan King (ID)
2) Sam Carrick (ID)
3) Tyler Beskorowany (ID)