Thursday, October 31, 2013

Idaho Steelheads Report: Nigro, Rapuzzi Shine Amid Idaho's Even Start

William Rapuzzi (Credit: Allen Picard/Idaho Steelheads)
John Mulhern returns again this year to cover the Idaho Steelheads for 100 Degree Hockey. John was recently named to the broadcast team for the Idaho Steelheads' home game television broadcasts. He will recap game here with a specific focus on Texas Stars prospects and players who could be in the PTO pipeline for later in the season.

Here is a quick recap of Idaho’s first 4 games of the season:
Friday October 18: @ Utah Grizzlies 4-2 Loss
Wednesday October 23 vs. San Francisco Bulls 3-2 OT Win
Friday October 25 @ Colorado Eagles 4-2 Loss
Saturday October 26 @ Colorado Eagles 5-4 Win
After four games, the Idaho Steelheads are 2-2, which is good for 4 points and has them in a divisional tie with both the Grizzlies (Norfolk Admirals) and the Eagles (unaffiliated). Of course, four games is too small of a sample size to make any kind of assumptions, but with Josh Robinson logging major frequent flier miles already as well as having a two-game set with a very offensive minded Eagles team, personally, I’ll gladly take a 2-2 start as the team tries to find their groove and line combinations.

As mentioned we’ll get more in depth as the season rolls along especially in looking at contracted players, but here are the names of some players that have caught my attention over the first four games (no contract required).

Anthony Nigro (ECHL contract only): Just named ECHL Player of the Week for the week of Oct 21-27. He has four goals and two assists for six points over the first four games, including a game-winner against the Bulls last week. He has been very impressive and appears to give effort at both ends of the ice.

William Rapuzzi (ECHL contract, was in Texas training camp): The most consistent player for the Steelheads over the first four games. He also has 6 points with one goal and five assists. Some would argue that the assists are just as, if not more, important than the goal.

Taylor Vause (AHL-ECHL two-way contract): A Texas Stars contract player, was off to a bit of a slow start, but had a nice two goal game on Saturday to get him up to four points on the season (3G,1A). He could certainly be a player on the “yo-yo” all year long.

Defensively, there hasn’t been too much that has stood out either good or bad so far. I would like the team to start yielding a bit less than the 3.5 goals per game they are allowing right now, but I’m willing to give them a pass seeing as how it is early in the season. The two games against Colorado won’t help the average, and Hubert Labrie only dressed for 2 games this year before his call-up.

Make sure you check back at this spot every week as we’ll start to give weekly updates recapping game as well as go in-depth about a few prospects. You can listen to Will Hoenike and me broadcast all 36 Steelheads home games this season on 1350AM KTIK. If you want more details about each weekend as well as some thoughts on upcoming opponents, check out my Two Sports Nuts podcast.

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