2023 ECHL Kelly Cup Finals Preview – Idaho Steelheads vs. Florida Everblades
2023 ECHL Kelly Cup Finals Preview – Idaho Steelheads vs. Florida Everblades
BOISE, ID – The Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads), proud ECHL (@ECHL) affiliate of the Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) will hosts the Florida Everblades for Game One and Game Two of the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals this weekend at the Idaho Central Arena. CLICK HERE for the full schedule.
2023 KELLY CUP FINALS MATCHUP
The Idaho Steelheads (12-4-0) and Florida Everblades (12-4-2) meet for the second time ever in the Kelly Cup Championship. In their first season in the ECHL the Steelheads achieved the Kelly Cup Championship defeating the Everblades in five games in 2004. It is the first ever rematch in the ECHL’s 34 postseasons that teams who met in previous Finals series are matched up for a second time.
The Steelheads had the best regular season in league history setting new league marks in wins (58) and points (119) posting an overall record of (58-11-1-2) while also setting records for most home wins (32) and road wins (26) en route to capturing the Brabham Cup, the ECHL regular season championship, for the second time in franchise history, the first since the 2009-10 season. Idaho enters the Kelly Cup for the fourth time in team history (2004, 2007, 2010) and are looking for their third championship, their first since 2007. They are looking to become the first team to win the Brabham Cup to also win the Kelly Cup since the Alaska Aces, 2014.
The Everblades finished with the 11th best record (38-25-4-5) in the regular season finishing fourth in the South Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. A number 11 seed from the regular season hasn’t won the Kelly Cup since Idaho did so back in 2004. The defending champions look to become just the fifth team in league history to win the Kelly Cup in back-to-back years, (Hampton Roads 1991/1992, Toledo 1993/94, Allen 2015/16, and Colorado 2017/18. Florida enters the finals for their league tying sixth time in franchise history and look for their league trying third championship.
COACHING OUTLOOKEverett Sheen leads the Steelheads behind the bench in his sixth season with the organization, third as Head Coach, with Keenan Kelly in his second season as Assistant Coach. Sheen, has accumulated a regular season record of (130-62-6-7) during his tenure as Head Coach and is in his first playoffs as a Head Coach. He received the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year and earned the right to coach the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.
Brad Ralph leads the Everblades behind the bench in his seventh season with the organization, all as Head Coach, with Jesse Kallechy in his third season as an Assistant Coach. Ralph, has amassed an overall regular season record of (314-127-28-22) during his tenure leading Florida to the playoffs in every season. He is the ECHL’s all-time leader in playoff games coached (126) and wins (75). He spent three seasons in Idaho as Head Coach of the Steelheads from 2012-15 leading the club to the 2013 Western Conference Finals and playoffs in all three years. He collected an overall record of (132-64-6-16) during his time with Idaho. He ranks sixth in ECHL regular season history in wins and winning percentage, while ranking 10th with 703 games coached.
IN BETWEEN THE CREASEBoth goaltenders had recent standout careers at the University of North Dakota, Adam Scheel (2018-21 : 52-18-5, 1.95 GAA, .916 SV%) and Cam Johnson (2014-18 : 56-26-12, 2.10 GAA, .914 SV% - 2016 National Champion). Both netminders have started every single game for their team in the playoffs while each have collected 12 wins and three shutouts. Scheel (12-4-0, 2.52 GAA, .915 SV%) is second with 954 minutes and 429 saves while setting a league record notching three straight shutouts this post season. His shutout streak of 188:50 fell just 11:09 shy of the all-time ECHL postseason record, set by Mississippi’s Travis Scott in 1999. Johnson (12-4-2, 2.15 GAA, .919 SV%) leads the playoffs with 1173 minutes and 477 saves. The 28-year-old was named MVP of the playoffs last season playing 18 of the 20 games en route to the Kelly Cup (15-2-1, 1.90 GAA, .931 SV%) posting four shutouts, tied second most all-time while his 15 wins are also tied for second. He is one shutout away from tying Riley Gill (KAL, REA, ALN) for most shutouts all-time in the ECHL playoffs.
BEEN THERE DONE THATThe Florida Everblades have nine players on their roster that were on last year’s Kelly Cup Championship team; Joe Pendenza, John McCarron, Blake Winiecki, Levko Koper, Ben Masella, Stefan Leblanc, Lukas Kälble, Kyle Neuber, and Cam Johnson. John McCarron ranks second in ECHL postseason history in games played (112), tied for third in goals (38), fifth in assists (61), and fourth in points (99).
The Idaho Steelheads have just one player that has ever played in the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals and that is veteran defenseman Matt Register. The 33-year-old has won three Kelly Cup Championships, 2016 – Allen, 2017/2018 – Colorado, and was named MVP of the playoffs in 2017, the only defenseman to ever receive the award. He is the all-time leader in ECHL playoff games (142) and assists (84) and second in points (110) just seven shy of tying Phil Berger (Charlotte, Greensboro 1990-96).
IDAHO STEELHEADS Goals For: Idaho has scored 64 goals through their first 16 games, tied for the most in the playoffs, averaging 4.00 per game.
Goals Against: Idaho has allowed 42 goals through their first 16 games, an average of 2.63 per game.
Power-Play: Idaho is second 18-for-69 (26.1%) and have scored in eight of their last nine games 14-for-43 (32.6%).
Home Power-Play: Idaho ranks second 11-for-41 (26.8%) and have scored in six straight games 11-for-31 (35.3%).
Penalty Kill: Idaho ranks 10th 43-for-55 (78.2%) but are 13-for-16 (81.3%) in their last six games.
Home Penalty Kill: Idaho ranks 3rd 24-for-28 (85.7%) and are 6-for-6 in their last three games.
Shots For: Idaho is averaging a league best 39.81 shots per game. They have tallied 40+ in four games and 30+ in seven games. They have outshot their opponent in 14 of the 16 games posting a record of (12-2).
Leading: Idaho is 7-1 when leading after the first period and 8-1 when leading after the second period.
Scoring First: Idaho has scored first in nine games posting a record of (8-1).
FLORIDA EVERBLADES Overtime: Florida has played the most overtime games at six posting a record of (4-2).
Goals For: Florida has scored 60 goals through their first 18 games, second most in the playoffs, averaging 3.33 per game.
Goals Against: Florida has allowed 45 goals through their first 18 games, an average of 2.50.
Power-Play: Florida is seventh 12-for-61 (19.7%) and are just 2-for-20 in their last eight games.
Road Power-Play: Florida is fifth 6-for-30 (20%) and have scored in six of 10 games.
Penalty Kill: Florida is 8th 54-for-67 (80.6%) but 15-for-17 in their last five games.
Road Penalty Kill: Florida is 5th 28-for-32 (87.5%) having allowed a power-play goal against in seven of 10 games.
Shots For: Florida is sixth averaging 32.39 per game.
Shots Against: Florida is second averaging just 29 against per game.
Leading: Florida is 6-0 when leading after the first period and 9-0 when leading after the second period.
Scoring First: Florida has scored first more than any team, 11, posting a record of (9-1-1).
IDAHO STEELHEADS #6 Wade Murphy – leads the playoffs in points (20) and goals (12) … tied for first in power-play goals (5) and game winning goals (4) … fourth in shots (55).
#7 Owen Headrick – leads all defenseman and rookies in points (18), shots (60), and +/- (+10) … tied for first in goals (3) and assists (15) amongst defenders … tied for second in power-play assists (7) and points (8) by a defenseman.
#15 Ryan Dmowski – tied for third in goals (8) … tied for sixth in points (14) … leads all skaters in shots (73) … tied for third in power-play goals (3).
#17 Ty Pelton-Byce – tied for fifth in points (15) … tied for third in goals (8) … tied for third in power-play goals (3).
#43 Matt Register – tied for fourth amongst skaters in assists (10) and … fifth amongst defenders in points (10) … fourth amongst defenders in power-play assists (4) … tied for second amongst blue-liners in +/- (+9).
#47 Patrick Kudla - third amongst skaters in assists (11) … tied for fourth amongst defenseman in points (12) … tied for third amongst defenders in power-play assists (6) … second amongst defenders in shots (42).
FLORIDA EVERBLADES#7 Sean Josling – is tied for first on Florida in points (15) while he is tied for fifth in the league … He is second in power-play goals (4) and tied for second in game winning goals (3).
#15 Tyler Irvine – leads Florida in goals (9) and tied for second in the league … He is tied for fifth in the league in points (15) … He leads the league in +/- (+12) …
#20 Oliver Chau – is tied for first on Florida in points (15) while he is tied for fifth in the league … He is second amongst rookies in points … He is tied for second amongst rookies in goals (6) … He is tied for second amongst rookies in assists (9) … He is third amongst rookies in shots (37) and +/- (+7).
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