When Steelheads coach Brad Ralph set his playoff roster, he left three spots open for players eligible to return from the AHL.
Defenseman Patrick Cullity played in Game 3 of the ECHL Western Conference semifinal series against Ontario on Wednesday night. His return filled the final vacant spot.
"This is our team now," said forward Andrew Carroll, one of the other returning players, along with defenseman Gord Baldwin. "No one else is coming in, and no one is coming out."
Idaho trails Ontario 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, which resumes Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.
The left-hander flew into Boise on Wednesday, and scored a first-period goal that gave the Steelheads the lead until two third-period goals helped the Reign to a 2-1 win.
"We're fortunate to have Pat back, and he had a really good game,'' Ralph said.
Cullity turned pro at the end of the 2009-10 season, but he has had limited playoff exposure.
"Playing playoff hockey is a fun and exciting time," said Cullity, who had three goals and 11 assists in 39 regular-season games with Idaho. "Some guys think, 'I've moved up and I don't want to move back down.' But for me, I don't think of it that way. It's a chance to play playoff hockey and I know how strong this team is and the potential we have."
He was a natural team leader for Idaho as the regular season began, with more than 225 games of AHL experience. His offensive numbers matched Cullity's when he earned a call-up to Texas of the AHL, where he played 29 games.
The 6-foot-5 Baldwin played in six postseason games with Idaho until Saturday night's Game 2 in Ontario. That's when he earned a game misconduct for leaving the bench during an altercation. He was later suspended for two games, which didn't sit well with him.
"I was already on the ice," Baldwin said. "I don't even know what happened. I did nothing."
Baldwin will have to sit out Friday's Game 4, and is scheduled to return for Game 5 on Saturday. "I'll be ready to go," he said. "I wish I was playing now, but it is what it is and they've made their call. So I've just got to prepare for Saturday."
The 6-foot, 200-pounder was a steady workhorse on the offensive end for Idaho as he began the regular season with 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 36 games.
But Carroll's biggest moment in a Steelheads uniform came in Game 6 of the opening-round series against Colorado. Carroll scored a late goal to force overtime and added the game-winner in the first extra period as Idaho eliminated Colorado.
"I started the year here, and I wanted to come back," said Carroll, who played 24 games with Connecticut of the AHL. "Playoff hockey, if you want to play at the next level, teams want winners."
If Idaho is going to win its series against Colorado, Carroll and the other forwards on Idaho's roster will have to find a way to solve Ontario's defense. The Steelheads were the top goal-scoring team in the ECHL during the regular season, but the Reign shut them out in Game 2 and limited Idaho to Cullity's goal in Game 3.
"You've got to give them credit, they're shutting us down,'' Carroll said.
"Game 4 is pretty much, I mean it's not our season, but it is our season. I would say 100 percent, we've got to win (Friday)."
Chris Langrill: 377-6424