Steelheads: Game Day Storylines - Game 3, Mountain Division Semifinals
The Mountain Division Semifinals move to Texas for Game 3, with the Idaho Steelheads looking to climb out of a two-game hole following back-to-back losses at CenturyLink Arena. The Allen Americans extended their series lead with a 5-4 win in Game 2, dealing Idaho consecutive regulation losses for the first time since January 26th and 27th against Colorado. The Steelheads were 2-1-1 this season playing in Allen, where they finished the regular season with a win eleven days ago. The Americans were 19-11-6 this season on home ice, compared to 16-18-2 on the road.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored twice for the Americans in Game 2, while David Makowski found the back of the net for the second consecutive game in the second period. Aaron Harstad also has goals in back-to-back games, scoring in the final minute of Game 2 to bring Idaho within a goal. Max French and Justin Parizek each scored their first professional playoff goals, while Tomas Sholl stopped 19 shots in his playoff debut. Jake Paterson earned the win in goal for Allen, and he has stopped 63 of 69 shots against through two games of the series.
A Fresh Start...
The Steelheads hope to have better luck on the road, but better starts to games will be key in making that happen. The Steelheads have trailed in the first two minutes of each game in the series, with rookie Braylon Shmyr netting his first professional playoff goal 1:56 into Game 1 and Jared Bethune scoring his first pro playoff goal 1:34 into Game 2. On Saturday, the Steelheads did not register their first shot on goal until 12:52 of the first period, at which point they trailed 2-0 and were outshot 11-0. The Steelheads controlled the puck for much of the rest of the game, scoring two goals of their own before the first intermission and outshooting the Americans 40-13 over the final 47:08 of play, launching 18 shots on goal in the second period. Idaho has been outscored 4-3 and outshot 22-18 in first periods, but they've outshot Allen 51-26 in the final 40 minutes of games.
The Steelheads hope to get a spark from the return of captain Jefferson Dahl, who rejoins the team for Game 3. Dahl was released from his professional tryout agreement with AHL Cleveland over the weekend, after Dahl had recorded two goals and four points in seven games during the first AHL call-up of his pro career. Dahl was Idaho's leading scorer for the second straight season despite missing the last three games of the regular season. Dahl posted 20 goals and 61 points in 61 games, and notched three goals and eleven points in eight games against the Americans this season. In his career, Dahl has totaled five goals and 17 points in 16 games against the Americans.
Down, Not Out...
The Steelheads had trailed a series 2-0 eight times in the ECHL era prior to this series. Idaho had won one of those series, but it was a series win that launched the team towards one of the organization's greatest accomplishments. The Steelheads trailed the Las Vegas Wranglers 2-0 in the first round of the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs in a best-of-five series. The Steelheads won three straight games, including Game 5 in Las Vegas, to win the series and ultimately go on to win the franchise's first Kelly Cup.
Idaho Leaders Americans Leaders
Goals: Harstad (2) Goals: Pierro-Zabotel/Makowski (2)
Assists: Sweetman (3) Assists: Three players (2)
Points: Three players (3) Points: Shmyr (3)
Plus/Minus: Three players (+1) Plus/Minus: Chouinard (+7)
Power Play Goals: Harstad/French (1) Power Play Goals: ---
Goals-Against Average: Desrosiers (3.09) Goals-Against Average: Paterson (3.00)
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ECHL Stories from April 18, 2018
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