ECHL: A Close Game Ends with Idaho Steelheads Taking Game One

The Allen Americans and Idaho Steelheads met in Allen for Game One of the Division Finals. The Americans entered the series after beating the Kansas City Mavericks in six games. While the Steelheads came in having beaten the Utah Grizzlies in six games. Game one of the Idaho and Allen series was a story of 5-in-5 as both teams combined for only three powerplays, with Allen going 1/2 and Idaho going 0/1.

First Period

The first period started very slowly. Neither team seemed like they were into the game, as there were a lot of turnovers and back and forth. While Idaho was getting more shots on the board, play spent a lot of time in Allen’s offensive zone, but Allen could not register many shots. But both teams came to life and gained some energy a little over halfway into the first period. At the 13:53 mark of the first, Grant Hebert scored to get Allen on the board first. Justin Young and Dalton Skelly assisted Hebert’s goal. Then only eight seconds later, Allen’s goalie, Kevin Mandolese, had a mishap with the goalie that allowed Idaho’s Jack Becker to score an unassisted goal, which tied the game at one. This would do it for the first period, with Idaho outshooting Allen 16-6.

Second Period

The second period was similar yet also very different than the first. In the second period, there were five goals between the two teams. 4:21 into the second, Allen started the scoring when Colby McAuley scored, giving Allen a 2-1 lead. Colton Hargrove and Kris Myllari assisted McAuley’s goal. But, just like the first period, it would not take long for Idaho to respond. 5:03 into the second, Justin Ducharme scored, tying the game at two. The assists on Ducharme’s goal went to Willie Knierim and Ty Pelton-Byce. 10:56 into the second, Willie Knierim scored an unassisted goal giving Idaho a 3-2 lead, but the lead would only last for about three minutes. 14:02 into the second, Stefan Fournier scored the only powerplay goal of the game to tie the game at three. The assists were given to Colby McAuley and Grant Hebert. Idaho scored the final goal of the period to give them a 4-3 lead. The goal was scored by Jordan Kawaguchi and assisted by Wade Murphy and Ty Pelton-Byce. This would do it for scoring in the second period, with Allen once again outshooting Allen 18-13.

Third Period

Scoring in the third period started early, with Idaho striking just 18 seconds into the period. Wade Murphy scored with the assists going to Jordan Kawaguchi and Casey Johnson. This goal gave Idaho a 5-3 lead. The next goal would not be scored until later when Jack Combs would find the back of the net to make it 5-4 in favor of Idaho. The goal was scored 15:21 into the third, with the assists going to Zach Massicotte and Chad Butcher. This would do it for scoring in the game. Unlike the first and second periods, Allen outshot Idaho 20-12 in the third period.

Post-Game Stats

The Steelheads ended up winning the game by a final score of 5-4 while outshooting the Americans 46-39. Idaho’s goalie, Adam Scheel, would end the game with 35 saves on 39 shots, giving him a save percentage of 0.897. While Allen’s goalie, Kevin Mandolese, made 41 saves on 46 shots giving him a save percentage of 0.891. Both teams were disciplined and played well defensively. The winner of this game ended up being the team that made the least mistakes, which could be a theme for this Allen and Idaho series.

Allen and Idaho will meet again in Allen for Game Two tomorrow night, May 6th, at 7:05 CDT.

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