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PLAYOFF PRIMER – MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINALS PREVIEW

Friday, May 3rd
PLAYOFF PRIMER – MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINALS PREVIEW

PLAYOFF PRIMER – MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINALS PREVIEW 

BOISE, ID – The Idaho Steelheads and Kansas City Mavericks square off in the Mountain Division Finals beginning tomorrow night in Kansas City at 6:05 p.m. (MT). It is the first post-season meeting between the two clubs. 

MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINALS SCHEDULE
Game 1 at Kansas City – Saturday, May 4 at 6:05 p.m. (MT)
Game 2 at Kanas City – Sunday, May 5 at 3:05 p.m. (MT) 
Game 3 vs. Kansas City – Wednesday, May 8 at 7:10 p.m. (MT)
Game 4 vs. Kansas City – Friday, May 10 at 7:10 p.m. (MT)
Game 5 vs. Kansas City – Saturday, May 11 at 3:10 p.m. (MT) (*If Necessary*)
Game 6 at Kansas City – Tuesday, May 14 at 6:05 p.m. (MT) (*If Necessary*)
Game 7 at Kansas City – Wednesday, May 15 at 6:05 p.m. (MT) (*If Necessary*)

HOW WE GOT HERE 
The Idaho Steelheads defeated the Allen Americans four games to one in the Mountain Division Semifinals outscoring them 22-14. Idaho took a 1-0 series lead for the first time since 2017 winning Game One in Boise 6-5 in overtime and then captured a 2-0 series lead for the first time in 14 years with a 5-0 shutout victory in Game Two. The series shifted to Allen for Games Three, Four, and Five as Allen pulled the series back to one game with a 5-1 win in Game Three. Idaho then rattled off a 5-1 win in Game Four and a 5-3 win in Game Five taking the series. Idaho has now advanced to the Second Round of the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs for the 13th time in 19 opportunities dating back to 2003-04. 

The Kansas City Mavericks swept the Tulsa Oilers in the First Round outscoring them 12-6 with three of the four games being decided by two goals and one decision being decided by one goal. It is just the fourth time the Mavericks are in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs in nine opportunities and their second appearance in the Second Round, first since 2015-16. 

BYE BYE FIRST ROUND
The Idaho Steelheads clinched the series last Sunday with a 5-3 victory in a game they never trailed in as Wade Murphy scored two goals and added an assist while Bryan Thomson made 34 saves on 37 shots. Ty Pelton-Byce is leading the playoffs in scoring three goals and adding nine assists playing in all five games recording a point in four of the five including three multi-point games. Mark Rassell is tied for second amongst all ECHL skaters after scoring five goals in the series including a pair of multi-goal games. Defensively speaking Patrick Kudla led all league defensemen with seven points (2G, 5A) and tied for first in power-play points (1G, 3A). Matt Register collected two goals and one assist with his assist in Game Five tying Phil Berger with the most points in ECHL Playoff history at 117. Jake Kielly’s 28 save shutout performance in Game Two was the seventh shutout of the First Round and the 11th Idaho ECHL post-season shutout. Kielly appeared in three games posting a (2-1-0) record with a 3.37 goals against average and a. 889 save percentage while Bryan Thomson appeared in three games with a (2-0-0) record a 2.15 goals against average and .933 save percentage. 

Idaho outscored Allen 22-14 in the opening round series scoring five or more goals in four of the five games. The Steelheads scored first in three of the five games winning all three contest they took a 1-0 lead in. Idaho went (4-for-20, 20%) on the power-play receiving goals from Patrick Kudla, Wade Murphy, Ty Pelton-Byce, and Mark Rassell. Idaho went (14-for-16, 87.5%) on the penalty kill including 12-for-12 in the final four games of the series. The Steelheads averaged 35.20 shots for per game and against outshooting Allen in four of the five games. Pelton-Byce (3-9-12), Rassell (5-3-8), and Murphy (4-3-7) combined for 10 of the 22 goals and 27 of the 52 points. Nine different skaters scored a goal while 16 recorded at least one point. 

The Kansas City Mavericks picked up their second ever First Round sweep, their first since 2016 when they defeated Quad City before losing in Round Two in six games to Allen. Kansas City clinched the series over Tulsa on Apr. 22 on the road as Cade Borchardt scored both goals in a 2-1 victory including the game winner on the power-play in the second period. Patrick Curry led all Mavericks skaters with three goals and five points in the series while nine different skaters scored a goal and 17 registered at least one point. The Mavericks alternated goaltenders across the four games as Cale Morris made 34 saves in Game One during a 4-2 win and 27 saves during Game Three’s 3-1 win. Jack LaFontaine made 38 saves in a 3-2 win of Game Two and 32 saves in the clinching Game Four 2-1 victory. 

Kansas City outscored Tulsa 12-6 in the opening series holding the Oilers to two or fewer goals in all four games with the two of the games being decided by two goals and two contests being one goal games. The Mavericks only scored first once which happened in Game Three while they went (2-for-8, 25%) on the power-play and (12-for-12, 100%) on the penalty kill in the series. Kansas City was outshot in three of the four games including the final three decisions averaging 30 shots for and giving up 34.25 shots against in the matchup. 

SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS
The Kanas City Mavericks captured the Brabham Cup awarded to the ECHL’s Regular Season Champion on Apr. 5 defeating the Utah Grizzlies on the road 7-4 in their 68th game of the season en route to achieving their first ever Mountain Division Championship on Mar. 29 defeating the Iowa Heartlanders 4-2 in their 65th game of the campaign. It was their second Division Title in franchise history after winning the Central Division during the 2015-16 season. Their 54 wins, 114 points, and .792 winning percentage were the fourth most in ECHL history. The Mavericks set a record for most road wins in a single season with 29.   

Ten players on the Kansas City roster are under AHL contracts with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The Mavericks led the regular season with 305 goals paced by All-ECHL First Team Selection, forward Patrick Curry who finished second in the league with 39 goals, a Mavericks single season record. His 87 points were tied for second in the league which is also a Kansas City single season record as he played in all 72 games. Rookie for Max Andreev was named the Co-Recipient of the ECHL Plus Performer of the Year finishing with a +34 rating in 63 games leading all ECHL rookies with 54 assists while his 73 points were third. His 54 assists were a Mavericks single season record. Andreev and fellow rookie forward Cade Borchardt were named to the ECHL’s All-Rookie Team as Borchardt led all league rookies in scoring with 77 points (24G, 53A) in 71 games. 

REGULAR SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES
The Steelheads were 2-3-1-0 in the regular season against the Mavericks. 

Dec. 6 at Kansas City | 7-5 Loss
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE  HIGHLIGHTS
Idaho trailed 3-1 after the first period and before getting the game to 3-2 after two periods. Idaho scored three unanswered to begin the third period in a stretch of 4:15 to capture their first lead of the game, 5-4. Kansas City then scored at 10:09 and 15:14 of the third period to take a 6-5 lead before securing the victory with an empty netter at 19:05. 

Dec. 8 at Kansas City | 5-4 OTW
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS 
Idaho fell behind 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes before Ty Pelton-Byce and Wade Murphy found the back of the net in the opening minute of the second period 25 seconds apart from one another to tie the score. Both teams exchanged a pair of goals in the third period as Murphy’s tying score with 3:08 left forced overtime. Pelton-Byce scored 14 seconds into overtime from Murphy as the two each had two goals and two assists in Idaho’s 5-4 overtime win. 

Dec. 9 at Kansas City | 1-0 WIN
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE  HIGHLIGHTS  
Bryan Thomson made 26 saves for his first professional shutout while A.J. White scored a power-play goal at 4:41 of the second period in Idaho’s 1-0 victory. 

Jan. 10 vs. Kansas City | 5-4 OTL  
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS
Idaho led 2-1 through 40 minutes of play with all three goals coming in the first period. The Mavericks tied the score at 2-2 just 35 seconds into the third period before Keaton Mastrodonato gave Idaho back the lead 5:50 later with his second goal of the game. 3:40 later the Mavericks tied the score once again eventually forcing overtime where Patrick Curry scored at 3:54 of the extra session handing Kansas City a 4-3 overtime win. 

Jan. 12 vs. Kansas City | 4-3 Loss
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE  HIGHLIGHTS
Idaho lead 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after two periods. Bradley Schoonbaert scored with 7:57 left in the game tying the score at 3-3 before Bobby Hampton provided the eventual game winner on the power-play with 34 seconds left giving Kansas City a 4-3 victory. 

Jan. 13 vs. Kansas City | 7-5 Loss
GAME RECAP BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS
A wild first period saw the Mavericks leading 4-3 through the opening 20 minutes as both team’s made goaltending changes heading into the second stanza. Each team scored twice in the middle period with Kansas City leading 6-5 heading into the third before an empty netter with 2:06 left in the game gave the Mavericks the win. 

GOAL SCORING
Kansas City outscored Idaho 26-20 in the head-to-head season series. The Mavericks produced four or more goals in five of the six games while Idaho did so in three contests. Four of the six games were decided by one goal while the other two decisions were determined by two goals. 

GOAL SCORING BY PERIOD
FIRST PERIOD : Kansas City outscored Idaho 11-8… Idaho scored in four of six games with three multi-goal periods… Kansas City scored in five of six games with three multi-goal periods.

SECOND PERIOD : Idaho outscored Kansas City 7 -3… Idaho scored in five of six games with two multi-goal periods… Kansas City scored in two of six contests with one multi-goal period. 

THIRD PERIOD : Kansas City outscored Idaho 11-6… Idaho scored in three of six games with two multi-goal periods… Kansas City scored in five of six contests with four multi-goal periods. 

POWER PLAY
Idaho went (7-for-15, 46.7%) on the man advantage in the head-to-head series including (2-for-7) in Boise and (5-for-8) in Kansas City. They tallied a power-play goal in four of the six games, one of three in Boise, and in all three in Kansas City. 

PENALTY KILL 
The Steelheads went (12-for-16, 75%) on the penalty kill allowing a power-play goal against in four of the six games. Idaho went (5-for-7) in Boise on the penalty kill while going (7-for-9) in Kansas City. 

SCORING FIRST
IDAHO: Scored first in three of six games with a (1-2) record… Scored first in two of three home games with a (0-2 record) and one of three road games with a (1-0) record. 

KANSAS CITY: Scored first in three of six games with a (2-1) record… Scored first in two of three home games with a (1-1 record) and one of three home games with a (1-0) record. 

SHOTS FOR
Kansas City outshot Idaho in four of six games averaging 33.7 shots for per game while Idaho averaged 30.5. 

SITUATIONAL

IDAHO
(0-2) when leading after the first, (1-2) when trailing after the first, (1-0) when tied after the first. 
(1-2) when leading after the second, (0-2) when trailing after the second, (1-0) when tied after the second. 

KANSAS CITY 
(3-0) when leading after the first, (2-0) when trailing after the first, (0-1) when tied after the first. 
(2-0) when leading after the second, (2-1) when trailing after the second, (0-1) when tied after the second. 

QUICK REGULAR SEASON HITS

AHL ACTION
The Mavericks have 10 players on their playoff roster under AHL contract with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Of the eight skaters on AHL contracts they played a combined 33 games scoring two goals and adding one assist while the goaltending position played in 10 contests. The Steelheads have four players under AHL contracts and one NHL contract on their playoff roster. The five skaters combined for 112 games scoring 15 goals and adding 15 assists. 

GOAL SCORING
The Mavericks led the league with 305 goals (4.24) while the Steelheads were second with (4.21). Idaho had five 20+ goal scorers; Mark Rassell (32), A.J. White (27), Wade Murphy (25), Francesco Arcuri (25), and Keaton Mastrodonato (24) while Kansas City had six; Patrick Curry (39), Jacob Hayhurst (37), Nolan Walker (34), Cade Borchardt (24), Jeremy McKenna (24), and Cole Coskey (22). 

POWER-PLAYS 
The Steelheads possessed the top ranked power-play in the league (71-for-249, 28.5%) while Kansas City was eighth (57-for-268, 21.3%). Idaho’s A.J. White was second in the ECHL with 13 power-play goals and seventh with 26 points. Francesco Arcuri’s 12 power-play scored lead all league rookies while ranking tied for third amongst all skaters. His 21 overall man advantage points were tied for third amongst ECHL rookies. Kansas City’s Cade Borchardt tied for third amongst league rookies with nine goals while Max Andreev’s 15 power-play assists were fourth. 

SCORING FIRST
The Mavericks led the league scoring first in 42 of 72 games posting a (34-4-3-1) record while the Steelheads ranked tied for third with 40 first goals posting a mark of (34-3-1-2). Kansas City’s Nolan Walker tied for second in the league with eight first goals while Idaho’s Keaton Mastrodonato was tied for third with seven.  

SHOOTING GALLERY
Idaho was second in the ECHL averaging 35.79 shots for per game while Kansas City was sixth with 33.03 shots for per game. For the Mavericks Patrick Curry’s 256 shots ranked fourth amongst all league skaters while Jacob Hayhurst’s 246 were fifth. Wade Murphy led the way for the Steelheads with 199. 

PLAYING WITH A LEAD
Idaho was 22-3-1-1 when leading after the first period while Kansas City was 24-2-1-1. Both teams were 36-1-1-0 when leading after two periods. 

For a full detailed report of the matchup click HERE

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