ECHL Playoffs: Allen Americans vs. Idaho Steelheads Game 3 | 04/26/2024

Game three of the Kelly Cup playoffs round one was a pivotal match between the Allen Americans and the Idaho Steelheads. Despite the Americans trailing by two in the series, their strong performance in the latter part of the season offers hope for a comeback. The Idaho Steelheads, one of the top road teams this season with an impressive 24-11-0-1 record, have been a formidable opponent. The first game between these teams was a fierce battle, with the Steelheads emerging victorious in OT. The second game saw Idaho take an early lead, leading to a shutout against the Americans. These facts set the stage for an exciting series between two great teams. 

As the first period commenced, the Steelheads had the first shot on goal, but the Americans Colin Jacobs fought back and scored the first goal at 3:16 in. These teams engaged in a fierce back-and-forth, with Allens Andrew Jarvis collecting the first penalty for high-sticking. This put Idaho on the power play. Heading into the game, Idaho has only a 3 for 11 record regarding a successful PP, so they want to dial in that game and use it to their advantage. Allen holds off the Steelheads and takes us to our next goal at 11:03, with Hank Crone giving them the 2-0 lead for the first time since the series’ first game. Two minutes later, Jordan-Ty Fournier and Connor Mylymok would toss their gloves to the ice and throw hands after multiple jibs between players, resulting in a few hits laned and both going to the penalty box for fighting majors and Connor getting a minor as well. We saw Idaho take the lead on shots this period, leading with 11, while Allen battled smarter and got two in the net with only nine shots on goal. Toward the end of the period, we saw Jarvis take a Slash from Idahos Willie Knierim, sending Jarvis off the ice in pain and ending the period with Allen on a PP for the second time this period. The Period closes out with Allen 2-0 and Idaho looking to catch up. 

Allen starts the second period with 51 seconds left on its power play but is unable to score. We saw Jarvis return to the game after appearing injured in the first period. Then Idahos A.J. White had a colossal breakaway trying to get through the five-hole, but Marco Costantini denied it. We see Allen score again when, at 6:21, Easton Brodzinski gets one past Jake Keilly, making it a 3-0 game. Both teams matched shot for shot this period, with neither being able to get it past their respective goaltenders. Being wise, we saw the players taking calculated risks and making plays that wouldn’t end in penalties but would be enough to razz the other team. During this period, we saw a Stick try to take down Idahos Matt Register behind the net, bringing him to the ice. Thankfully, he was able to pop up without any injury. This isn’t the first game we’ve seen this week where an inanimate object tried to take out a player. The rink door at Kzoo tried to wipe out one of the Walleye players two days ago. 17:33 in Allens, Liam Finlay gets called for Hooking, putting Idaho on the PP. With Idaho leading the league in PP percentages, they want to capitalize on this and make up some of this score. However, that was not the case. Bennet MacArthur steals the puck and shorthandedly takes Allen 4-0 on a breakaway. The period closes out with Allen having 12 shots on goal and Idaho having 13.

Going into the third period, we see Idaho pull Jake Keilly and put Bryan Thomson in the net, and 19 seconds in, they get their first game goal, making it 4-1. This puts some fire in Idaho’s belly, and they seem to get it together until a bench minor for a stupid mistake of having too many men on the ice puts Allen on the PP. With 1:17 seconds left, Allen’s Kris Mylari gets called for hooking, making it a 4v4 game. The power plays end with neither team being able to get a whole lot done. Returning to 5v5 hockey, we saw excellent pass completion and puck action from both teams. Idaho definitely still has some gas in the tank, while Allen is trying to keep the lead to reduce Idaho’s lead in the series. In doing so, we see the players start chirping with each other and pushing each other around. Idaho has come back a ridiculous amount of times this past season with multiple goals in the second and third periods, so it’s not entirely crazy if they can come back and take the lead this period. 13:15 Into the third period, Allen Easton Brodzinski sees his second goal, making it 5-1. Idahos Jake Murry then meets Ryan Gagnon in Allen D zone and does a little pushing and shoving of his own. Meanwhile, Jarvis takes a trip into Costantini’s net after Connor Mylymok gets into him. This would put Allen on their fourth PP of the night with five left in the period. With the power play ending, we see both teams take their play up a notch. Idaho just can’t pull it, and Allen American takes this one 5-1, making the series 2-1 for the Mountain Division semifinals. 

Both teams were able to fend each other off, but Idaho’s goaltending just couldn’t keep it together. Allens Costantini had 36 shots on goal, while Kielly and Thomson saw 29.

The Allen Americans will face off against the Idaho Steelheads at home in Texas on Saturday night in game four of the series. Idaho still leads 2-1. The outcome of this game will be crucial, as the team that reaches four wins will advance to face the rested KC Mavericks, who are having their best season and swept their series 4-0. The tension is high, and the stakes are even higher. 

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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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