Sports

Steelheads face 2-0 series hole after 5-4 loss to Allen in ECHL playoffs

The Idaho Steelheads have home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff series against the Allen Americans. The puck drops at 7:10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at CenturyLink Arena.
The Idaho Steelheads have home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff series against the Allen Americans. The puck drops at 7:10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at CenturyLink Arena. Courtesy of Idaho Steelheads

The Idaho Steelheads fought back from an early 2-0 deficit against the Allen Americans on Saturday night in Boise at CenturyLink Arena but fell 5-4, their second one-goal loss at home in as many nights.

The Steelheads now trail the Americans 2-0 in their Kelly Cup playoff series, which shifts to Allen, Texas, for the next three games. The Steelheads will have to win at least two of three in Allen in order to bring the series back to Boise for a Game 6. Game 3 is at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, Game 4 is at 6:05 p.m. Friday, and if necessary, Game 5 is at 5:05 p.m. Sunday, April 22.

Idaho was down 2-0 barely six minutes into the first period before battling back to tie the game before the first intermission. Jack Nevins scored the Steelheads’ opener at 13:31 of the first period before Max French knotted the score on a power play with a minute remaining.

Allen went back in front with a goal in the second period and extended its lead to 4-2 almost eight minutes into the third. Justin Parizek pulled one back for the Steelheads about five minutes later before Allen added an empty-netter with two minutes remaining. With a minute left, Aaron Harstad’s goal made it a 5-4 deficit for Idaho, but the Steelheads were unable to complete the comeback.

Below is a story that ran previously highlighting this weekend’s plethora of sports offerings.

Looking for some sports-related entertainment in the Treasure Valley this weekend?

You’re in luck.

There’s no shortage of events to choose from, with Boise State’s hall of fame induction, Idaho Steelheads playoff hockey, Meridian Speedway racing and Boise State football’s spring scrimmage all happening in a 24-hour span.

Steelheads begin playoffs

Riding a 10-game points streak to end the regular season, the Idaho Steelheads open the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs with back-to-back home games Friday and Saturday nights.

The first-round, best-of-seven series between the Steelheads (44-20-8) and Allen Americans (35-29-8) starts at 7:10 p.m. each night at CenturyLink Arena. It marks the 21st consecutive postseason appearance for Idaho, which is the longest current streak in professional hockey.

“It’s something that I haven’t really made a big deal about in the past, because we expect it. We push for it,” Idaho Steelheads coach Neil Graham said. “But in the same breath, I made sure we acknowledged it as a team this year and we should be proud of this accomplishment.”

Idaho, the No. 2 seed in the ECHL’s Mountain Division, is 5-3-2 against the third-seeded Americans this season. The two teams are meeting in the first round for the second time in three seasons.

The Americans edged the Steelheads in seven games in the 2016 playoffs on their way to the franchise’s second Kelly Cup title.

“There’s so much turnover. Our roster this year isn’t worried about what happened two years ago,” Graham said. “... Bigger picture though, these two teams from this year have engaged their own rivalries, have created their own feelings toward each other, so the rivalry has continued on. There’s new bodies, there’s new pieces, but the battles and the rivalries are just as strong as they were two years ago. I think that’s what makes our Mountain Division so exciting.”

Kellen Moore, six others join BSU hall

Boise State will hold its first Athletic Hall of Fame induction in 11 years Friday night. Former quarterback Kellen Moore, who was 50-3 and a Heisman Trophy finalist while setting an FBS record for career wins from 2008 to 2011, headlines the seven-member class. Other inductees are PGA Tour golfer Graham DeLaet, All-American offensive lineman Nate Potter, track and field national champions Gabriel Wallin and Eleni Kafourou, track and field standout Abigail Ferguson, and longtime Voice of the Broncos Paul J. Schneider.

The event is sold out. We’ll have video posted at IdahoStatesman.com on Friday night.

“It’s really awesome, I can’t wait,” Moore said last month. “The last class they had was the year I got there, and we’d have team meals in the Hall of Fame, even some meetings. So it’ll be cool to be a part of that, and fun to go in with Nate.”

Boise State spring football game

Fans will get their first look at the 2018 Boise State football team at Saturday’s spring game at Albertsons Stadium.

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m., and the new Hall of Famers will be honored beforehand. Tickets are $10, all general admission, and can be purchased at the Athletic Ticket Office that day, or at BroncoSports.com/tickets. More than 5,000 fans attended last year.

If you can’t make it, check out IdahoStatesman.com for news and notes, plus photos and video.

Position battles to check out? How about backup quarterback, tight end, wide receiver and linebacker.

“Looking for guys to take advantage of their reps out there ... hopefully we see guys go out and compete, get Bronco Nation out there, change the atmosphere a little bit,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.

Meridian Speedway heats up

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds headline the opening night of racing at Meridian Speedway’s quarter-mile asphalt oval on Saturday.

The Modifieds will share the spotlight with Pro-4s, Legends, Claimer Stocks, Mini Stocks and Hornets. Defending series champion Colton Nelson of Meridian and the rest of the Modified field compete in a two-race main event, while the Mini Stocks are scheduled for a 100-lap battle.

Spectator gates open at 4:45 p.m. and racing begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for children ages 7-11.

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