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2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs

ECHL Mountain Division Final: Idaho Steelheads vs. Allen Americans

ECHL Mountain Division Final: Idaho Steelheads vs. Allen Americans

BOISE, Idaho – The top two teams in the Mountain Division are set to begin their best-of-seven round two series.  The Allen Americans finished second in the division, but they will have a tough battle ahead of them.  Their opponent, the Idaho Steelheads, are not only the top team in the Mountain Division, but are also the top team in the league.

The last time these two teams met in the postseason, back in 2018, it took all seven games to decide a victor.  The Americans won the first three games before dropping the next four, allowing the Steelheads to advance, only to be swept by the eventual Kelly Cup champion Colorado Eagles.  The only two players remaining from that series are Allen’s Spencer Asuchak and Idaho’s A.J. White.

Final Regular Season Records

Idaho: 58-11-1-2, 119 points (1st in Western Conference, 1st in ECHL)
37-32-2-1, 77 points (5th in Western Conference, 13th in ECHL)

How They Got Here

Idaho: Defeated Utah Grizzlies 4-2 in Mountain Division Semifinals
Allen: Defeated Kansas City Mavericks 4-2 in Mountain Division Semifinals

Series Schedule

Game 1: Friday, May 5 – Idaho at ALLEN – 7:05 pm CT
Game 2: Saturday, May 6 – Idaho at ALLEN – 7:05 pm CT
Game 3: Wednesday, May 10 – Allen at IDAHO – 7:10 pm MT
Game 4: Friday, May 12 – Allen at IDAHO – 7:10 pm MT
*Game 5: Saturday, May 13 – Allen at IDAHO – 7:10 pm MT
*Game 6: Monday, May 15 – Allen at IDAHO – 7:10 pm MT
*Game 7: Wednesday, May 17 – Idaho at ALLEN – 7:05 pm CT
*If Necessary

Season Series Recap

Idaho absolutely dominated the regular season series with Allen, winning all eight games between the teams, with all eight victories coming in regulation.  Several were lopsided decisions, and the Steelheads outscored the Americans 42-28.

Allen’s top point producers were Liam Finlay with eight points (four goals, four assists) and Hank Crone with seven (four goals, three assists).  Eight Steelheads had at least seven points in the series, with Ty Pelton-Byce leading the way with twelve points (five goals, seven assists) and Ryan Dmowski following with ten (four goals, six assists).  Four others had nine points.  In net, Adam Scheel earned six of Idaho’s eight wins.

How Idaho Wins

In this series, the Steelheads can just pick up where they left off during the regular season.  Head-to-head, Allen is no match for Idaho, though the Steelheads cannot become too lackadaisical.  The Americans were still the second seed in the Mountain Division and had two of their skaters leading the league in points during the regular season (Crone with 105 points, Jack Combs with 95).

As in the regular season and in the divisional semifinals, Scheel should be the go-to guy for Idaho.  After a pair of losses to begin the postseason, Scheel has settled down and earned victories in the last four, though they have all come in overtime.  He finished the first round 4-2, with a 2.46 goals-against average and 0.911 save percentage.

How Allen Wins

Allen will need to forget the regular season even existed.  After dropping all eight games in regulation and being heavily outscored by the Steelheads, the Americans could understandably enter the series intimidated and overwhelmed.  Instead, they need to forget about those eight losses and just focus on playing their own game, the game that earned them 37 wins and the second seed in the division.

In Allen’s round one series with Kansas City, the games were low-scoring and all were one-goal games.  Goaltender Kevin Mandolese was a major factor in those games, going 4-2, allowing only eleven goals and earning a 1.82 GAA and 0.944 save percentage.  Stingy defense will be a necessity in this series as well.  The Steelheads are getting points from nearly everyone in the postseason (only three skaters—all defensemen—have yet to register a point).  The Americans can’t focus on just one player or even one line; they need to play their strongest defensive game yet and shut down everyone.

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!

    Carrie Roberts covers the Adirondack Thunder for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with her on Twitter @FPHAdkThunder.

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