Tuesday’s Kelly Cup Playoffs Recap

Royals prevail in series opener
Reading leads series 1-0

By Jason Guarente
Reading Eagle

The Reading Royals have been operating without a safety net for weeks, so the playoffs didn’t bring pressure.

If anything, they were a reprieve.

The Royals only had to concentrate on one opponent and winning one game.

No scenarios. No scoreboard watching. No calculations to see how the points added up.

Reading just needed to defeat Elmira.

The Royals took care of that objective with a 4-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Sovereign Center Tuesday night.

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Machesney, Stingrays shutout Gladiators
South Carolina leads series 1-0

By Andrew Miller
The Post & Courier

Greg Stewart is just making up for lost time.

Stewart scored two goals and Daren Machesney stopped all 20 shots he faced to lead South Carolina past Gwinnett, 3-0, in Game 1 of the ECHL Eastern Conference Kelly Cup quarterfinals Tuesday night before a crowd of 1,250 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Stewart was limited to just 24 games during the regular season because of two separate injuries. He recently ?returned to the lineup for the first time after spending seven weeks on the ?injured reserve list.

“It’s been a pretty frustrating season with all the injuries,” Stewart said. “It seems like I haven’t played in four months. I was ready for the playoffs to start.”

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Late goals life Wheeling to 4-2 win
Wheeling leads series 1-0

By Shawn Rine
The Intelligencer

Most nights Christiaan Minella’s efforts go virtually unnoticed to anyone outside the Wheeling Nailers locker room. His name doesn’t often show up on the scoresheet, which is where the casual fan generally makes his case for and against a player.

Minella’s footprints were all over the Nailers’ opening game of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night at WesBanco Arena. He was heavy on the forecheck and was a thorn Kalamazoo’s side all night, and Minella’s effort midway through the third period led to the tying goal by Chris Barton.

From there, Ben Farrer deflected in a one-handed pass from Matt Schepke with 1:07 left and Andrew Hotham followed with a shorthanded empty-netter as Wheeling took Game 1 of the Best-of-5 series by a score of 4-2.

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Wranglers take control with 3-2 win
Las Vegas leads series 2-0

By Ed Hauth
Las Vegas Sun

With ECHL Second Team goalie Joe Fallon playing with the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League, Wranglers goaltender Mitch O’Keefe has taken advantage of his opportunity to start in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

A night after stopping 21 shots in a shutout victory over the Grizzlies in Game 1, O’Keefe recorded 46 saves, including 19 in the third period, to help the Wranglers take a 2-0 series lead with a 3-2 victory Tuesday.

Las Vegas took the lead for good on a Chris Francis goal in the final minute of the opening period as he was able to beat Utah goaltender Andrew Engelage for the game-winner.

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Veteran Flichel leads Steelheads to game one win
Idaho leads series 1-0

By Chris Langrill
Idaho Statesman

At the age of 36, Marty Flichel still enjoys playing hockey.

Tuesday night, it was easy to see why.

Flichel had the game-winning goal and assists on Idaho’s other two scores as the Steelheads defeated the Ontario Reign 3-2 in the first game of their opening-round playoff series Tuesday night at CenturyLink Arena.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Flichel said. “This is what hockey’s all about.”

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Thunder subdue Eagles in series opener, 3-1
Stockton leads series 1-0

By Scott Linesburgh
Stockton Record

Olivier Roy handled just about everything one of the best offenses in the ECHL had to offer and gave his team an early postseason boost.

Roy had 35 saves and didn’t give up a goal until the final period as the Thunder beat the Colorado Eagles 3-1 in the opening game of their first-round ECHL National Conference playoff series. The best-of-five series continues at 7 p.m. today at Stockton Arena.

The Thunder played one of its most complete games of the season in front of Roy. It outshot Colorado 45-36, played most of the game in the Eagles’ zone and scored full-strength, power-play and shorthanded goals in front of a crowd of 2,874.

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