While the visiting Eagles fired away in the first period, the Steelheads patiently awaited a chance to counter-attack and got it at the 3:29 mark of the first when Brett Robinson redirected Damon Kipp's shot from the top of the left-wing circle past Adam Brown to give Idaho a 1-0 lead. The goal, Robinson's eighth of the season, was also assisted by William Rapuzzi as both Robinson and Rapuzzi extended personal point streaks to five consecutive games.
Colorado nearly tied it time and again over the game's next 25 minutes before finally equalizing things at 8:39 of the second period when Kyle Ostrow returned the favor with a redirection of a Marc Nemec shot from the point to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Idaho provided an important answer less than four minutes later at the end of a tremendous shift in the offensive zone. Rapuzzi gathered a loose puck along the left wing, skated into the circle and dropped a pass below the goal line to Tommy Grant. Grant made a quick move out in front of the net before lifting a backhand past Brown at 12:01 of the second, his 16th of the season, to give Idaho a 2-1 lead.
Minutes later, Colorado had an apparent game-tying goal waved off as the officials determined the puck was played with a high stick before Trent Daavatilla tipped a shot past Nagle, allowing Idaho to maintain its 2-1 lead going into the third period.
In the final frame, the Steelheads picked up an important insurance goal as Charlie Dodero snapped home his first professional goal at 6:38 of the third, a wrist shot from the top of the right-wing circle under the crossbar, to make it 3-1.
The Steelheads clamped down defensively from that point on, including a big penalty kill midway through the third. Colorado pulled its netminder with well over a minute to play in an attempt to get closer. With 1:16 to play, Idaho's Mitch Wahl was dumped into the boards from behind as he attempted to take a shot at the empty net by Colorado's Kevin Ulanski, putting Idaho on the power play to seal the game when Luke Judson scored his second goal in as many games with the Steelheads, an empty-net power play goal with 16 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Nagle picked up his 14th win of the season with his 48-save effort. Adam Brown took the loss, allowing three goals on 16 shots before Idaho's game-clinching empty-netter in the closing seconds.
The Steelheads' penalty kill unit was a perfect 4-for-4, improving to 68 for 74 over the team's past 16 games. Idaho was also 1-2 on the power play.
Idaho's six-game homestand rolls on Saturday night when the Steelheads and Eagles meet on Onion Night, presented by the Onion Growers of Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Tickets are available by calling 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Brett Robinson (G/A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Pat Nagle (ID)
2) Tommy Grant (ID)
3) Charlie Dodero (ID)