Everblades Take 1-0 Series Lead Over Steelheads in Kelly Cup Finals
The Kelly Cup Finals kicked off on Friday night, with the Florida Everblades hosting the Idaho Steelheads. The two teams had battled it out in a best-of-seven series for the ECHL’s ultimate prize, but the Everblades were the ones who emerged victorious in the first game of the series, winning 4-2.
The Everblades got off to a fast start, scoring three goals in the first period to take control of the game. Sam Warning opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest, firing a wrist shot past Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl.
Less than two minutes later, John McCarron doubled the Everblades lead with a breakaway goal. McCarron skated in alone on Sholl and deked the Steelheads goalie before sliding the puck into the net.
Florida’s third goal of the period came from Matt Finn, who scored on a deflection in front of the net. The Everblades outshot the Steelheads 14-8 in the opening period and looked to be in complete control of the game.
Steelheads Fight Back
The Steelheads refused to go quietly, however, and battled back in the second period. Idaho’s first goal came from Joe Basaraba, who scored off a rebound at the 8:35 mark of the period.
Idaho’s second goal came on the power play, with Will Merchant finishing off a pretty passing play to bring the Steelheads within one goal of the Everblades. Despite being outshot 11-7 in the period, Idaho had the momentum heading into the final frame.
The third period was a tense affair, with both teams battling for control of the game. Florida’s goaltender, Martin Ouellette, came up big when his team needed him most, making numerous key saves to preserve the Everblades’ lead.
Ouellette finished the game with 27 saves on 29 shots, while Sholl ended up stopping 28 of the 32 shots he faced.
Power Play Prowess
One area where the Everblades had a clear advantage in the game was on the power play. Florida capitalized on two of their three power play opportunities in the game, while the Steelheads were unable to score on their only power play chance of the night.
The Steelheads will need to tighten up their penalty killing if they hope to come back and win this series.
While it’s only one game, the Everblades will be pleased with their performance in Game 1. They came out strong and set the tone for the series, but they know that they can’t take their foot off the gas pedal now.
The Steelheads are a talented team and won’t go down without a fight. Florida will need to continue to play at a high level if they hope to capture the Kelly Cup.
The Florida Everblades have taken a 1-0 series lead over the Idaho Steelheads in the Kelly Cup Finals. Florida got off to a fast start, scoring three goals in the first period, but the Steelheads battled back and made it a close game. The Everblades’ power play was deadly, scoring on two of their three opportunities. The two teams will now have a day off before Game 2 takes place on Sunday night, where Idaho will look to even up the series.