(Boise, ID) – The Idaho Steelheads will open the 2012 Key Bank ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs with a best-of-five series against the Ontario Reign.
Game One (or A) will be at CenturyLink Arena in Boise on Tuesday, April 3rd, the home arena of the Idaho Steelheads. Idaho is the seventh-seeded team in the ECHL's Western Conference and Ontario is the 2nd seed..
Game Two (or B) will also be in Boise on Wednesday, April 4th before shifting to Citizens Business Bank Arena in Boise on Friday, April 7, for Game Three. Tickets for Tuesday's and Wednesday's games are on sale, with single-game ticket prices beginning at $17 per seat. Here is the game-by-game schedule for the first-round matchup:
Game 1 Tuesday, April 3: Ontario at Idaho, 7:10 PM (Mtn)
Game 2 Wednesday, April 4: Ontario at Idaho, 7:10 PM (Mtn)
Game 3 Friday, April 6: Idaho at Ontario, 8:00 PM (Mtn)
Game 4 Saturday, April 7*: Idaho at Ontario, 7:00 PM (Mtn)
Game 5 Monday, April 9*: Idaho at Ontario, 8:00 PM (Mtn)
(* - If Necessary)
(Boise, ID) - Marty Flichel assisted on the game-tying goal and then scored the game-winning goal, both inside the final seven minutes of play, as the Idaho Steelheads edged the Ontario Reign, 3-2, in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Idaho leads the best-of-five set, one game to none, with Game 2 coming up Wednesday night in Boise.
The seventh-seeded Steelheads drew first blood early when Ron Meyers back-handed a rebound home at 1:42 of the first period to give Idaho an early 1-0 lead. Meyers gathered the rebound off a Derek LeBlanc shot and managed to tuck it between Jean Francois Berube's legs for his first professional playoff goal.
The score remained 1-0 in favor of the home team deep into the second period as the two teams slugged it out in a highly-intense contest in front of 1,823 fans. Ontario tied it at 16:47 on an unassisted Kyle Kraemer goal - his seventh goal in 12 games against Idaho between the regular season and playoffs.
Idaho nearly took the lead two minutes into the third period on a great individual effort by Chad Nehring, carrying the puck in the right-hand side. After a great move to shake free, Nehring tried to back-hand the puck past Berube, but the Ontario goaltender made a nice save with the left leg to keep the game tied at a goal apiece. Barely a minute later, Kevin Estrada fed a pretty pass from the hashmarks along the left wall to the far post, connecting with CJ Stretch for a goal at 3:04 of the final frame to give the Reign a 2-1 lead.
With Ontario nursing that one-goal lead, former Steelhead Mike Gabinet was whistled for a cross-checking penalty with just over six minutes to play. On the ensuing power play, Flichel threaded an equally-pretty pass from the top of the right circle to the bottom of the left circle, right onto the tape of Aaron Lewicki, who finished it at 14:38 of the final frame to tie the game at two.
As overtime loomed, Idaho got one final opportunity. Ontario lost control of the puck in the offensive zone, with Meyers kicking it free to LeBlanc. LeBlanc quickly transitioned as Idaho was on a 2-on-1 rush. LeBlanc fed the puck from the right point to Flichel, who carried it into the left-hand circle before ripping the puck top corner over the glove hand of Berube with 1:34 to play, giving Idaho a 3-2 lead.
The goal was Flichel's 22nd in the postseason as a Steelhead. LeBlanc had two assists and Meyers had a goal and an assist in his first pro playoff game.
Idaho was able to hold off a last-minute charge from the Reign with their net empty for an extra attacker, taking the all-important one-game-to-none lead in the best-of-five playoff series.
Idaho's Jerry Kuhn got the win in net, stopping 27 of 29 Ontario shots. Berube was the loser after allowing three Steelhead goals on 26 shots. Idaho scored the game's only power play goal, going 1-4 with the extra attacker while Ontario was 0-6.
Game 2 of Idaho's first-round playoff series with Ontario is Wednesday night at Boise's CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office (208.331.TIXS) or by logging on to www.idahosteelheads.com.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Marty Flichel
AQUA FINA "3 STARS" -
(1) Marty Flichel (ID)
(2) Aaron Lewicki (ID)
(3) Ron Meyers (ID)
Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of Tim’s Cascade Chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.