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Florida Everblades defeat Idaho Steelheads 3-2 in OT in Kelly Cup Finals opener

The Everblades claimed a 1-0 Kelly Cup Finals lead over the Steelheads with a 3-2 overtime victory Saturday night. Idaho and Florida face off in game two on Sunday.

BOISE, Idaho — The Florida Everblades claimed a 1-0 series lead over the Idaho Steelheads in the Kelly Cup Finals on Saturday night after picking up a 3-2 overtime victory in downtown Boise. Florida's Oliver Chau ended a back-and-forth contest 14:06 into the extra frame.

Defenseman Dawson Barteaux put the Steelheads on the board first and nearly popped the roof off Idaho Central Arena with a power-play goal with 4:22 to play in the first period. Jordan Kawaguchi and Justin Ducharme assisted Barteaux on the opening goal. 

Idaho carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, before Florida tied it up a little more than seven minutes into the second frame. Everblades' defenseman Cole Moberg found the back of the net on a one-timer off a faceoff.

With the contest knotted up at 1-1 in the final period, the Steelheads were able to score an equal-strength goal with 13:05 remaining. Idaho's Ryan Dmowski buried the puck on a perfect pass from behind the net by Willie Knierim. Ty Pelton-Byce was also credited with an assist.

Dmowski brought out the Kelly Cup energy following the goal to put the Steelheads up 2-1, jumping into gas and getting the Idaho faithful fired up. 

Unfortunately for the Steelies, the one-goal didn't last long, as Florida was able to tie it up again at 2-2 more than 12 minutes into the period. 

The Everblades took advantage of a power-play opportunity and Blake Winiecki scored on a rebound after the puck hit goaltender Adam Scheel's blocker.

Scheel finished Saturday's game with a 91.892 save percentage, stopping 34 shots while allowing just three goals. For Florida, goalie Cam Johnson put away 34 shots and allowed two goals, for a save percentage of 94.444.

Idaho and Florida square off again on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. MT at Idaho Central Arena. The remaining 2023 ECHL Kelly Cup Finals schedule is included below:

Game 2 – Sunday, June 4 at 4:10 p.m. MT at Idaho Central Arena

Game 3 – Wednesday, June 7 at 5:30 p.m. MT at Hertz Arena

Game 4 – Friday, June 9 at 5:30 p.m. MT at Hertz Arena

Game 5 – Saturday, June 10 at 5 p.m. MT at Hertz Arena*

Game 6 – Tuesday, June 13 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho Central Arena*

Game 7 – Wednesday, June 14 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho Central Arena*

  • * if necessary

Idaho is making its fourth appearance in the ECHL's championship series, with its most recent appearance coming in 2010. Florida is looking to become back-to-back Kelly Cup champions in the franchise's sixth trip to the finals.

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