Sunday, May 12, 2013

Allen and Idaho: Happiness and Heartbreak

CenturyLink Arena in Boise (Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
Last night as the Texas Stars celebrated their Game 2 win over the OKC Barons, their two farm clubs, the Idaho Steelheads and Allen Americans, both ended their seasons in drastically different ways. Allen won the CHL championship in Game 7 overtime while the Idaho Steelheads were eliminated form the ECHL playoffs in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semis.

There has been a closer connection to the Idaho Steelheads this season for the Stars' as Justin Dowling, Austin Smith, Gord Baldwin and many others who factored into Texas's lineup spent time there. Many felt that the team overachieved to get to where it was. First year head coach Brad Ralph lacked a full off-season to recruit and had the rug pulled out from under him in many ways when the NHL lockout ended. Injuries and callups plagued the lineup through the season. Somehow they kept winning.

Josh Robinson and Tyler Beskorowany were a big part of that success and it will be interesting to see what their futures will hold in the organization. The eyeball test says that they will probably be divergent paths.

Stockton goalie Olivier Roy really ended the Steelheads' season as Idaho outchanced the Thunder but couldn't outscore them. The number of almost, maybe shots from Smith, Gron, Schaber and Fyten that were snuffed out by Roy was just too much to believe. He's in the running for the playoff MVP for sure.

The Americans take the typical championship shot. (Credit: Chip Crail/CHL Photos)
On the other side of the coin, Allen had a come from behind effort to win their first league championship in their four year history. After losing in the final their first year, this was only their second trip back. It took seven games and then some, but the Americans turned an 0-2 deficit after two periods into a 3-2 OT win tonight in the Metroplex.

From a Texas Stars' fans perspective, you cannot look at these two teams in a vacuum. There are a lot of rumblings, almost deafening now, that Allen is not long for the CHL and may make the jump to the ECHL. It doesn't take too long for the consequences of such a move to get complicated from the Texas Stars' perspective...

Over the next few days, we are sure to hear from both John Mulhern, our Steelheads correspondent, and Brandon Cox, a friend of the site who has covered the Americans for several years.

Also expect that the Stars could have some black ace callups from the Steelheads.

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