Steelheads fall short in playoff opener, lose 3-2 to Ice Dogs
El Segundo, California - The Idaho Steelheads faltered in the first playoff game in defense of their Kelly Cup title, falling to the Long Beach Ice Dogs 3-2 in the West Division playoff opener. Long Beach scored three unanswered goals in the second period, including two power play tallies by Bill Lindsay, and survived a furious Idaho rally to claim a 1-0 series lead. The game was played at the Los Angeles Kings practice facility because of a scheduling conflict at the Long Beach Arena. The contest was the first-ever post-season meeting of the two teams.
The Steelheads had the first power play of the game and capitalized. Idahos leading scorer Bobby Russell tipped in David Bararuks shot at 9:52. Bararuk, assigned today from the American Hockey Leagues Houston Aeros and playing in his first game with the Steelheads since winning the Kelly Cup Championship last season, tallied 14 points in 15 playoff games last year.
With 10:04 left in the second period, the Ice Dogs knotted the game on the power play. With the man-advantage, Long Beach applied pressure around Idahos net. Frank Doyle stopped a shot, but Bill Lindsay jammed in the rebound. Less than a minute later, Idaho was called for another minor penalty, but successfully killed it off. However, Long Beach took the lead soon after and never looked back, when Michael Lambert notched one top shelf over Doyles glove at 15:16. Lindsay scored his second power play goal after Chris Kenady fed him a centering pass and he beat Doyle at 18:18. Long Beach outshot Idaho 17-4 in the second.
Just 1:32 into the final period, Lance Galbraith stripped the puck from a Long Beach defender behind the Ice Dogs goal and wrapped the puck around and past netminder Sebastien Centomo to bring Idaho back to within 3-2. The goal energized the Steelheads, who kept the pressure in the Ice Dogs end. Their persistence paid off when Long Beach took a penalty, giving the Steelheads a power play and a chance to tie the game. Despite several golden opportunities for Idaho, Long Beach managed to kill the penalty and maintain the one-goal lead.
Centomo stymied numerous Idaho scoring chances in the third, as Idaho outshot Long Beach 11-4 in the final period. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Friday night at the Long Beach Arena.
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