(Boise, ID) - Eric Lampe's goal halfway through the sudden-death overtime lifted the Las Vegas Wranglers to a 2-1 victory over the Steelheads Sunday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
Las Vegas wins the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series, four games to one, to advance to the Western Conference finals against the defending Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces. Idaho's season comes to an end with the loss despite a gutty, hard-fought effort. The Steelheads played without leading scorer Jacob Cepis and defenseman Michael Gergen left the game after the first period with an injury.
Neither team scored in the first period, as Las Vegas goaltender Joe Fallon snuffed out an Idaho two-on-one rush and Idaho's Jerry Kuhn denied Geoff Paukovich on a short-handed breakaway attempt. Idaho got on the board midway through the second period when Ron Meyers ripped a shot from the right-hand circle under Fallon's arm, his second of the playoffs, at 10:11 of the second to make it 1-0 Steelheads.
Las Vegas would even it up late in the second when Eric Lampe pounced on a loose puck in the left-hand circle and delivered a perfect pass to the right-hand post where Adam Miller slammed home his third of the playoffs at 17:25, evening the game at a goal apiece going into the third.
Neither team could score in the third so, for the second time in the series, the two teams went to an overtime session. Early in the overtime session, Meyers was robbed on a nice Fallon save, Aaron Lewicki just missed the far post from the left-hand circle, and Marty Flichel's shot from the slot was gloved down by Fallon. Coming back the other way, Jerry Kuhn made perhaps the save of the season, a sprawling leg save on Lampe to keep his team in the game at the left-hand post.
Moments later, Las Vegas would not be denied. After a potential icing was waved off, the Wranglers top line connected with Adam Miller feeding Judd Blackwater who got the puck to Lampe in the left-hand circle. This time, Kuhn could not make a miracle save as Lampe scored his first goal of the series at 10:15 of the overtime session to end the game and Idaho's season.
Kuhn turned in yet another spectacular performance in net for the Steelheads, stopping 51 of 53 shots in the loss. During the traditional post-game handshake, several Wranglers gave Kuhn an extra tap on the pads to salute him for his efforts in net. Fallon, the second-team All-ECHL goaltender, was fabulous as well, stopping 34 of Idaho's 35 shots for the victory. Both teams were 0-2 on the power play.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Ron Meyers
AQUA FINA "3 STARS" -
(1) Jerry Kuhn (ID)
(2) Eric Lampe (LV)
(3) Joe Fallon (LV)
Hockey returns to CenturyLink Arena in Boise in September when the NHL's Dallas Stars come to town. Project Filter NHL Training Camp rolls in as Idaho's NHL affiliate, the Dallas Stars will host training camp in Boise, culminated with an NHL exhibition game at CenturyLink Arena on September 25 against the Minnesota Wild. For more information on Project Filter NHL Training Camp and the exhibition game between the Stars and Wild, contact the Idaho Steelheads front office at 208.383-0080.