ECHL Playoff Series Recap: Idaho Steelheads vs. Allen Americans

Idaho Steelheads/ECHL

The Idaho Steelheads and the Allen Americans met in round one of the Kelly Cup playoffs. One team dominated their season, and the other was the comeback kid. After a stellar five-game series, we see Idaho Steelheads heading to the next round. During their series, Allen and Idaho matched each other for points in game one, with Idaho’s Mark Rassell scoring the overtime goal. This game gave us the best view of how hard these teams worked to be here, ending with shots on goal over 35 for both teams. The Steelheads would take game two and ultimately dominate in the net, giving goalie Jake Kielly his first postseason shutout. This same shutout game is where we saw Allen lean into the Steelheads, causing tensions to rise and giving us 21 penalties. Allen owns 11 of those called and eight of those for roughing, illegal checks, or inciting. 

That loss lit a fire under Allen, making the moniker of the Comebacks Kids authentic when they took down Idaho 5-1. Allen had a regular season record of 32-29-11, showing they can get there, but sometimes overtime is problematic. Allen wouldn’t see this type of success for the rest of the series and would start to struggle to keep pucks out, losing them in game five. Both teams headed into game six and started matching each other for goals, giving us signs that we might have to go to game seven. Then Allens’ goaltending suffered another slip, and the series game six closed with the least penalties and a score of 5-3 Idaho. 

With these two teams, Specials teams only really panned out great for the Americans when they got a shorthanded goal, which, coming into the postseason, Allen had the upper hand with eight compared to Idaho’s six. Both teams shared the same realm regarding goals against and penalty kills, but that’s where the similarities stopped. The Allen Americans were nothing but grit and determination, refusing to be swept and giving Idaho a run for their advancement. In the regular season, Allen sits in 17th for power plays, and Idaho sits in 3rd. Idaho tops the list on ‘goals for,’ sitting second in the league, while Allen is 13th. Idaho finished the season with 303 shots compared to Allen’s 233. Idaho had two players receive special awards: the ECHL Defenseman of the Year winner, Patrick Kudla, and the ECHL Sportsmanship Award recipient, A.J. White. So, for the opportunity of this to have been a decimating sweep, the Americans showed why they made it to the playoffs. 


As we gear up for the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Idaho Steelheads are preparing to face the Kansas City Mavericks. With their impressive win over the Allen Americans, Idaho has advanced to the playoffs for the 13th time in 19 seasons and the fourth time in the last five. This season, Idaho was a force to be reckoned with, ranking second with an average of 4.21 goals per game and proving their mettle as one of the top road teams. With a stellar record of 48-20-4 this season, the Steelheads have set a high bar for their performance in the first round. Going up against KC will test them as the Mavericks are the League champion and Brabham Cup winner and finished the season at 48-20-4. They faced the Tulsa Oilers in the first rounds, swept them in 4 games, and have the most players recognized on special teams this season. This is going to be a series you don’t want to miss. These two Titans will make noise and give us some great hockey. Game one is on May 4th at 8:05 pm EST. 

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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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