ECHL Playoff Recap: Idaho Steelheads Vs. Kansas City Mavericks Game 4 | 05/10/2024
Idaho Steelheads/ECHL

On Friday night, the Steelheads and the KC Mavericks clashed for game four of the Mountain Division Finals in Boise. With KC leading the series 2-1, Idaho was determined to level the playing field. The last game was marked by a special moment of celebration when their player, Matt Register, etched his name in the history books. Register’s achievement, becoming the all-time leader for points in the postseason at 118, surpassed the previous record holder, Phil Berger, who had held the record since 1995. This monumental feat underscored the team’s legacy and set the stage for a thrilling game.

The game kicked off with both teams maintaining the same roster as the previous game. Jake Kielly guarded the net for Idaho, while Cale Morris stood firm for KC. The Mavericks wasted no time, taking the lead at 3:43 when Patrick Curry managed to slip one past Kielly. The period was a thrilling back-and-forth between the teams, with no penalties and the shots on goal remaining close. These teams both have some of the lowest penalty minutes in the league, and it’s showing in this game, along with Idaho’s consistent outshooting of KC in every match of the series, met with KC’s steady goal-making, adding to the intensity and excitement of the game. 

The second period commenced, and both teams maintained their composure. Lots of great passing was observed with clean plays. At 4:15, KC scored their second goal of the night when Nolan Walker, who has been a consistent threat throughout the series, got a superb shot past Keilly. The game saw its first penalty when Jake McLaughlin sent Idaho to the power play by hooking, just to turn it into a 4v4 when A.J. White decided he wanted a piece of the Mavericks player and got a roughing penalty. Another penalty was awarded when Justin Nachbaur got High-sticked by Ty Pelton-Byce and ended up in a pile on the ice. This double minor four-minute penalty brought out the ice team to clean some biohazard off the ice. KC was on their PP, and Jeremy McKenna, a consistent scorer for the Mavericks, sunk one in, making it 3-0 with two minutes of power play time left. Lynden McCallum swung at Marc-Olivier Duquette after a hit from Jordan Kawaguchi took down Jake McLaughlin. Kawaguchi ended up with the penalty and headed to the sin bin. Four seconds later, Jeremy McKenna got called for hooking Patrick Kudla and made it four on four. The period closed out, and once again, both teams remained close in shots on goal, with Idaho 12 and KC 11.

The third period started, and we will see if Idaho will be the comeback kid. They have come back from multiple deficits this past season to win. 3:52 in Idaho gets on the board when Jordan Kawaguchi gets one past Morris, making it 3-1. Idaho continues to pressure KC and gets too excited when Defensemen of the Year Patrick Kudla gets called for high-sticking, and once again, we see KC go on the PP. On the PP, Idahos Dawson Barteaux gets called for high-sticking, and we see it go to four on three. The Mavericks Jake Jaremko makes good on the PP, making it a 4-1 game. Still on the power play, and 41 seconds later, Nolan Walker makes it a four-goal lead. Idaho would make it a three-goal game when Jordan Kawaguchi gets his second goal, putting him on hatty watch. There would be two more penalties when KCs Jake McLaughlin and Idahos Demetrios Koumontzis get called for High-sticking each other. The Steelheads would send Kielly to the bench for the man advantage, hoping to recoup some of the goals lost. In the last second of the play, A.J. White would sink one in closing out the game 5-3. Max Adreev meets the Idaho line in front of the net for some pushing, but it’s quickly broken up so the players can face off and kill the last second of play, ending Game 4.

1st  Star of the Game: Nolan Walker
2nd Star of the Game: Patrick Curry
3rd  Star of the Game: Cale Morris

The best road team in ECHL history has done it again, and we head to game five, if KC wins tomorrow and will move on to the Western Conference Finals against the Toledo Walleye. This game was crucial for both teams, as a win for Idaho would have leveled the series, while a win for KC would have put them closer to securing their spot in the next round. Idaho has consistently outshot KC throughout this series, and tonight was no different. Keilly had only 28 shots on goal, where Morris saw a whopping 39. Idaho has yet to do a line changeup since the series added Dawson Barteaux, and that worked against them this game. If they move on to series three, they must make some changes. KC must continue putting pressure on Idaho and focus their shooting to get the puck in the net. Game five is Saturday, May 12th, at 3:10 PM MDT in Boise.

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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