Kelly Cup Playoffs
National Conference Finals Begin May 7

Clicking a team vs. team match-up below will open the head-to-head match-up page as a PDF in a separate browser window.

No. 2 Alaska Aces (49-16-7) vs. No. 4 Idaho Steelheads (42-24-6)

PRINCETON, N.J. – The National Conference Finals will begin May 7 when defending Kelly Cup Champion Alaska hosts 2004 Kelly Cup Champion Idaho in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Alaska was 49-16-7 and finished second in the ECHL with 105 points while Idaho was 42-24-6 and finished fourth in the National Conference and sixth overall with 90 points.

Game 2 will be May 8 at Sullivan Arena before the series travels to Qwest Arena in Boise for Games 3 and 4 on May 11 and 13 and Game 5, if necessary, on May 15. Game 6, if necessary, would be May 19 at Alaska while Game 7, if necessary, would be played at Alaska on May 20.

The Steelheads defeated the Aces in the division finals in 2004 on their way to becoming only the second expansion team in history to win the ECHL championship, joining the Greensboro Monarchs who beat Winston-Salem in 1990. It is the third consecutive trip to the Conference Finals for the Aces and the second trip for the Steelheads. Alaska beat Fresno in seven games in the Conference Finals to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where it beat Gwinnett in five games a year ago after losing in seven games to eventual champion Trenton in 2005. Idaho beat Gwinnett in four games in the Conference Finals in 2004 to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where it beat Florida in five games.

The 2006-07 winner of the John Brophy award as the ECHL Coach of the Year, Davis Payne of Alaska is 49-31 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and is second all-time among ECHL coaches in postseason games and wins. He has led the Aces to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of his four seasons and has never missed the postseason in seven ECHL seasons, which ties him for fourth in career postseason appearances. He became only the second coach to win the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in the same season in 2005-06 and is one of only two coaches in league history to lead his team to back-to-back 100-point seasons having won the Brabham Cup in 2005-06 with 113 points and finishing second in 2006-07 with 105 points. Alaska is 102-28-14 in the regular season the last two years while Payne is 185-75-28 overall in the regular season with the Aces and 289-142-45 all-time in the regular season. In his first two seasons, Derek Laxdal is 85-45-14 in the regular season and has led Idaho to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where the Steelheads are 11-8.

Derek Gustafson and Steve Silverthorn are tied for the Kelly Cup Playoffs lead with eight wins and two shutouts each. Gustafson is 8-2 and third with a save percentage of .940 and fifth with a goals-against average of 1.98 while Silverthorn is 8-4 and third in goals-against average with 1.78 and tied for fifth with a save percentage of .935.

Alaska’s Julian Talbot leads ECHL rookies with seven goals and 14 points in 10 games while Idaho’s Lars Helminen leads all rookies with 10 assists and is second with 12 points. Talbot is tied for second overall in goals and third in scoring while Helminen is second overall in assists and is tied for fourth in scoring. Kevin Croxton of Alaska is tied with Talbot for second among rookies with seven assists and is third with 10 points in 10 games.

Idaho’s Lance Galbraith leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with nine goals and 16 points in 11 games while teammate Marty Flichel has a league-high 11 assists and is second with 15 points.

Alaska has not allowed a power-play goal in 283:15, the last being scored at 19:55 of the first period by Victoria in Game 6 of the National Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 16. The Aces were 32-for-32 on the penalty kill against Bakersfield and are fourth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs at 89.5 percent (68-for-76). Idaho is sixth on the penalty kill with 88.4 percent (61-for-69) and seventh on the power play with 17.9 percent (12-for-67).

The Steelheads won the last two meetings and were 2-1-0 at home and 1-2-0 on the road against the Aces in 2006-07 to improve to 15-14-3 all-time in the regular season against Alaska. The Aces were 2-0-1 at home and 1-1-1 on the road against the Steelheads in 2006-07 and are 17-12-3 all-time in the regular season against Idaho. Mike Scott led Alaska with seven assists and seven points in six games while Marty Flichel and Derek Nesbitt led Idaho with four assists and six points each. Alaska’s Derek Gustafson was 2-0-2 with a goals-against average of 1.70 in four games against the Steelheads while Idaho’s Steve Silverthorn was 3-3-0 with a goals-against average of 3.12 against the Aces.

Broadcasting the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth year in a row is B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”. Fans can access the B2 Networks broadcast from the scores page on ECHL.com.

Clicking a team vs. team match-up below will open the head-to-head match-up page as a PDF in a separate browser window.

No. 2 Alaska Aces (49-16-7) vs. No. 4 Idaho Steelheads (42-24-6)