|(Credit: Idaho Steelheads)|
The Idaho Steelheads have advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the 2009-10 season when they also met the Stockton Thunder. The Steelheads defeated the Thunder 4 games to 2 that year to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals.
The Stockton Thunder defeated the Alaska Aces 4 games to 2 to advance to the Conference Finals. Over the course of the playoffs, the Thunder have come from behind to win 7 of their 8 games this playoff season.
The Steelheads went 2-3 against the Thunder during the regular season. They were 1-0 at home and 1-3 on the road. What is interesting to note is that the Steelheads have only played one game against the Thunder at home this season. In two of the 3 Steelheads losses, the Reign came back to win after allowing the first goal of the game.
I think this series will tip based on special teams and goaltending. The Steelheads have much better goaltending and power play numbers. Also, the scoring is more spread out for the Steelheads which should give them an advantage 5 on 5. If the Stockton Thunder have any advantage, it’s that the Steelheads at times this year have jumped out to leads only to take their foot off the gas and allow their opponent to get back into games. The Thunder have shown that they are a team that will require 60 minutes (or more) of work each time they take the ice.
Top Playoff Performances:
Stockton: 14 players registered at least one goal
Ryan Hayes — 5g, 11a, 16pts
Andrew Clark — 4-10-14
Harrison Reed — 6-6-12
Shawn Weller — 6-3-9 [Ed. Note: Former Star Shawn Weller]
Ryan Constant (D) — 1-5-6 (EVEN)
Shawn Boutin (D) — 2-3-5 (plus-7)
Tony DeHart (D) — 0-3-3 (plus-5)
Olivier Roy, 13GP, 8-5, 2.95 GAA, .899 SV%
Idaho: 13 Players registered at least on goal
Tyler Gron — 7-5-12
Adrian Foster — 3-8-11
Austin Smith — 6-3-9
Austin Fyten — 4-5-9
Chase Schaber — 2-7-9
Matt Case (D) — 1-8-9 (plus-2)
Jace Coyle (D) — 0-6-6 (EVEN)
Patrick Cullity (D) — 2-2-4 (plus-4)
Josh Robinson, 8GP, 4-2-1, 2.59 GAA, .920 SV%
Tyler Beskorowany, 6GP, 4-1, 2.63 GAA, .907 SV%
Stockton is 4 of 51 good for 7.8%
Idaho is 6 of 42 good for 14.3 %
Stockton is 43 of 51 good for 84.3%
Idaho is 38 of 46 good for 82.6%