While it took one team all seven games to decide their first round fate, another needed only five to advance to the round number two. Tulsa fell down 3-2 in their opening round series with Kansas City before winning Game 6 and 7 to advance. Idaho, while getting shellacked 7-1 versus Utah in Game 1 of the first round, made ECHL playoff history by winning four straight overtime games to take their Mountain Division Semifinal four games to one.
Now, Idaho will have five full days of rest (compared to Tulsa’s one) heading into Game 1 on Friday night. The Sin Bin’s C.C. Hawkley and Rich Lohman break down each team’s chances in the second round, and what it will take for each squad to make it to the Mountain Division Final.
Final Regular Season Records:
Tulsa Oilers: 42-24-4-2, 90 points – Mountain Division Champion
Idaho Steelheads: 41-25-4-2, 88 points – 2nd in Mountain Division
How They Got Here:
Tulsa Oilers: defeated Kansas City, 4-3
Idaho Steelheads: defeated Utah, 4-1
Series Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 26 – Idaho at TULSA 7:05 pm CT
Game 2 – Sunday, April 28 – Idaho at TULSA 4:05 pm CT
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 30 – Tulsa at IDAHO 7:10 pm MT
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 1 – Tulsa at IDAHO 7:10 pm MT
*Game 5 – Friday, May 3 – Tulsa at IDAHO 7:10 pm MT
*Game 6 – Sunday, May 5 – Idaho at TULSA 4:05 pm CT
*Game 7 – Monday, May 6 – Idaho at TULSA 7:05 pm CT
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
The Oilers and Steelheads met ten times during the regular season: four times in Tulsa, and six times in Boise. Both teams won five games apiece. Idaho was 3-2-1 at CenturyLink Arena, while Tulsa was 2-1-1 at the BOK Center. Concerning goals forced, Idaho barely edged Tulsa (33-32) in head-to-head action. Oilers playoff netminder Devin Williams faced Idaho five times in the regular season with a 3-2-0 record, 3.12 GAA, and .906 save percentage. Steelheads postseason goaltender Tomas Sholl backstopped Idaho in only three games against Tulsa, but went 3-0-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .950 save percentage, highlighted by a 50-save effort in a 6-3 win on February 22.
Tulsa Keys to Success:
If Tulsa continues to play the type of Oilers hockey they have been playing since the holidays — 36.04 shots for per game during the regular season and 36.14 SF/GM in the playoffs — they will prevail over Idaho as they did with Kansas City. They have to stay out of the penalty box, attack at will, and finish when they have a lead. Head Coach Rob Murray described the team as “dinged up” after the Game 7 victory on Wednesday night, with the key players knowing their roles and playing through the pain.
Idaho Keys to Success:
The Steelheads need to keep putting the puck on net (their 43.40 SF/GM leads all playoff teams), relying heavily on forwards Henrik Samuelsson (6 pts – 3G, 3A – in 5 GP) and Brad McClure (4 pts – 2G, 2A – in 3 GP) to score and facilitate in crucial moments. Both players had multi-point efforts in Game 4 and 5, respectively, in round one against Utah. Centerman Kyle Schempp also needs to continue his high-impact play; his two goals in Game 3 and 5 of the Mountain Division Semifinal (MDS) were overtime game-winners. Lastly, Sholl must continue his unflappable composure in net. He recovered very well from a 8.68 GAA, .708 save percentage performance in Game 1 of the MDS by allowing only nine goals in the next four games, earning a 1.95 GAA and .934 save percentage in four straight overtime victories.
Game 1 of the Mountain Division Final begins at 7:05 pm CT on Friday, April 26 at the BOK Center in Tulsa. Follow @SinBinOilers and @SinBinIdaho on Twitter for all your second round coverage of the Tulsa Oilers and Idaho Steelheads!