BOISE, ID.- The Ontario Reign (0-1-0-0), proud affiliate of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, carried their physical style of play into their first Kelly Cup Playoff match against the Idaho Steelheads (1-0-0-0), but fell 3-2 before a crowd of 1,823 in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday night.
The Steelheads took an early lead in Boise as Ron Myers scored just 1:42 into play. A five-minute boarding penalty dealt to Reign defenseman, Benn Olson, gave Ontario their first successful penalty-kill of the playoff season. Ontario was held scoreless in the first period.
A chippy game ensued through the second frame as Idaho attempted to counter Ontario’s physical play. Kyle Kraemer, Ontario’s all-time leading scorer with 41 goals over two seasons, netted the equalizer at the 16:47 mark of the second period. Kraemer picked up a bouncing puck in the middle of the Steelheads zone and skated it to the right faceoff circle where he fired a shot through traffic past Kuhn.
C.J. Stretch gave Ontario their first lead of the game early in the third off a wide feed from Kevin Estrada. Stretch was in perfect position behind the Idaho defense and shot it past Kuhn. Mike Gabinet took a slashing penalty giving Idaho the advantage, which Aaron Lewicki converted off a pass from Flichel, to tie the game 2-2 at 14:38. With the game appearing to head into an extra frame, Idaho made a rush into the Reign end. LeBlanc sent a hard pass from the neutral zone up to Flichel who fired a wrist shot past Berube with 1:34 left in regulation.
Berube took the first post-season loss stopping 23 of 26 shots, and Kuhn earned the win stopping 27 of 29.
Three Stars: 1) IDH - M. Flichel 2) IDH - A. Lewicki 3) IDH - R. Meyer