BOISE, Idaho — For the first time since 2010, the Idaho Steelheads are headed to the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals after a 4-1 series win over the Toledo Walleye in the Western Conference Finals.
The Steelheads cruised to a 5-1 win in Toledo Saturday night to punch their title ticket and claim the Bruce Taylor Trophy. The Walleye jumped out to a 1-0 lead early, before Idaho pocketed five-straight goals, including two scores by Owen Headrick.
In net for Saturday's series-clinching victory was Adam Scheel, who stopped 22 of Toledo's 23 shots in a stellar win between the pipes. During the five-game series, Headrick led the Steelheads with eight points between a pair of goals and six assists.
Ty Pelton-Byce led the way for Idaho in scoring, finding the back of the net four times against the Walleye. Outside of Headrick Saturday, Steelhead goal-scorers included team captain A.J. White, Jordan Kawaguchi and Patrick Kudla, who put the icing on the cake with 11:27 left in the contest.
Other than dropping game three on the road (5-4), Idaho dominated the Western Conference Finals. The Steelheads won both games at Idaho Central Arena by a final of 3-0, before winning game four 4-3 and game five 5-1.
Saturday's win marks the Steelheads' fourth trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, a stage they have been victorious twice. Idaho captured the cup in 2004 against Florida and in 2007 against Dayton. The Steelies fell to Cincinnati in 2010.
Idaho rolled into the playoffs as Brabham Cup (regular season) and ECHL Mountain Division champions, with an impressive 119 points – 16 more than the second-place Cincinnati Cyclones.
The Steelheads set ECHL regular-season records this year in wins (58), points (119), home wins (32) and tied for second all-time with 26 road wins. Idaho also tied the second-best ECHL mark for a single-season in goals against average (2.13) fewest goals against (153).
Idaho will play the winner of Florida and Newfoundland who are currently tied 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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