If a hockey game goes to overtime in the playoffs, the two teams will play overtime periods until a team scores. The format has resulted in games goind deep into the morning.
Steelheads forward Tyler Gron wanted none of that Wednesday night.
The rookie scored 26 seconds into the first overtime as Idaho defeated the Colorado Eagles 4-3 at CenturyLink Arena.
"I didn't expect it that early, but I just went to the net and got my own rebound," Gron said.
Gron's goal gave Idaho a 1-0 lead in its first-round ECHL Western Conference playoff series.
The two teams return to CenturyLink Arena on Thursday night for Game 2 before the best-of-7 series shifts to Colorado for Games 3, 4 and 5, if necessary.
The Steelheads seemed to be on their heels through much of the game, but a few bounces went their way and they were able to capitalize.
"Hey, that's playoff hockey," Idaho coach Brad Ralph said. "I think we found a way to win tonight, and that's what it's all about. I wouldn't say it was the cleanest hockey game, but the guys worked hard."
Through two periods, the score was 2-1 Colorado, but the Eagles were responsible for all three of those goals.
Forward Trent Daavettila scored late in the first period when he beat Idaho goalie Josh Robinson, who went 5-0-0 against Colorado in the regular season (Idaho went 7-1-0).
The next goal came after a pass by Colorado's Aaron Schneekloth deflected off teammate Colin Bowman's skate and into the Eagles' net. Idaho captain Ben Ondrus was credited for the second-period goal since he was the last Steelhead to touch the puck.
"What do you say?" Ralph said. "We were working hard, and when you're working hard you're going to get some lucky bounces."
Jake Marto put Colorado up 2-1 with a little more than 5 minutes remaining in the second period, and the Eagles went into the second intermission with a 30-14 shots-on-goal advantage - and all the momentum. And the Eagles know how to play with a lead. They went 30-5-2 in the regular season when leading after the second period.
"It seemed like they had their legs," Ralph said. "They're a highly skilled team, and they were skating and passing and yeah, they were dominant. We weathered the storm and we found a way to get some timely goals. We stayed the course, and that's the most important thing."
Idaho tied it early in the third period when a shot by Justin Taylor from 10 feet behind the blue line found its way past Colorado goalie Adam Brown.
Colorado, the No. 6 seed, regained the lead midway through the final frame, but Idaho, the No. 3 seed, answered yet again when David de Kastrozza stuffed home a goal while in the middle of a scrum in front of the net. That sent the game to overtime, setting up Gron's game-winner.
Gron admitted after the game he and his teammates were a little relieved to leave the arena with the victory.
"We've got to be better (Thursday)," Gron said. "They came out and wanted it more in the first period. That was pretty obvious, but we got some lucky bounces. So (Thursday) I think we have to get to the net harder and try to work a little more. We can't just depend on luck."
Chris Langrill: 377-6424