ECHL Playoff Recap: Idaho Steelheads Vs. Kansas City Mavericks Game 3 | 05/08/2024
Steelheads Hockey

The Kansas City Maverick took on the Idaho Steelheads in game three of series two in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. These two powerhouses met in Boise for this monumental match, with the arena buzzing with anticipation. KC, known for their impressive road wins in the ECHL, set a new record this season at 29. On the other hand, Idaho, with its formidable home record of 48 wins, was ready to defend its turf. Idaho has shut down the first line for the Mavericks the last two games, while KC has been able to get under Idaho’s skin and cause mistakes. KC’s Cale Morris is in goal tonight, while Idaho keeps Bryan Thomson as their netminder. KC made roster changes for this match. Idaho again went with the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ theory. 

The puck dropped, and Patrick Curry sank it in a mere 36 seconds, giving KC the lead. Idahos’ Mark Rassell took a crosscheck right to the ribs from Ryan Jones and was slow to head back to play. No penalty was called. The first half of the period winds down, and Cade Borchardt gets a sweet pass from Nolan Walker, and we see the Mavericks take it to two to one. We see things get fresh in front of the KC net, with some grabbing, but things get broken up fast. 16:12 Cole Coskey gets another one past Thomson, giving KC a 3-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Wade Murphy answers and makes it a three-to-one game, putting Idaho on the board. Precisely two minutes later, Jeremy McKenna redirects the shot from Max Andreev and takes the Mavericks’ lead back to three, making it four to one as we head into the first intermission. 

Bryan Thomson gets replaced by Jake Kielly for goaltending. David Cotton finds a hole in Kielly’s defense and takes the Maverick to five to one at 5:39 into the second period. Up till that goal, Idaho had outshot KC four to one. Borchardt and Canada start pushing and grabbing, going down to the ice in front of Morris. That wouldn’t give us a penalty. But Matt Registers crosschecking Cole Coskey does, and KC goes to the game’s first power play. Idaho would see their first power play with less than five minutes to go when David Cotton high-sticked or smacked Reece Harsh in the face. Both teams would fail to score on their power plays. In the Playoffs, the Mavericks are ranked first for power kills, and Idaho is fifth. The second period would end with both teams sitting at ten shots on goal. 

The third gets underway, and KC gets their second penalty of the night against Jeremy McKenna for High-sticking. This was accidental and was a delayed call because it was caught when Keaton Mastrodonato doubled over and skated away from the center ice. Idaho would remain goalless on the power play. 2:11 later, Ty Pelton-Byce puts Idaho within three, making it a 5-2 game. Jordan Kawaguchi would make it a 5-3 game almost three minutes later, putting Idaho within two with over 12 minutes left in play. Wade Murphy would give KC their second power play of the game. Twenty-six seconds after the power play ended, Bradly Schoonbaert made it a 6-3. In the last five minutes of the period, Idaho scored two goals, one by Keaton Mastrodonato, and twenty-eight seconds later, Lyden McCallum followed. Making this a one-goal game. Nolan Walker gets the puck, finds the path, and made it 7-5. Idaho pulls Jake Kielly, giving them the advantage in trying to tie the game. KC’s Ryan Jones hammers the puck from behind Idaho’s net and misses the open net by inches. In the last ninety seconds, Idaho would go hard, shot after shot, trying to get one past Cale Morris. Idaho would end up outshooting KC 40-28, but KC would see more luck in getting the puck in the net, ending the game at 7-5. 

First Star: Patrick Curry, KC
Second Star: Patrick Kudla, ID
Third Star: David Cotton, KC

The Mavericks have taken the lead in the series 2-1. The following two games are must-win for KC to win the Mountain Division Championship and advance to the third series of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Idaho will have to regroup and decide if they will switch things up with their lines because it’s not the goalies who are the problem. The defense in front of the net has to tighten up. They had great skating and puck control. They just weren’t able to get that protection in front of the net figured out this game. Idaho looks to tie the series in the fourth game. These teams with meet again on Friday, May 10, at 7:10 p.m. MT in Idaho.

Stephanie DeLaFleur

Beat Writer covering the ECHL Savannah Ghost Pirates, NHL Vegas Golden Knights and AHL Henderson Silver Knights. Follow me on X @StephiDelafleur

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