By Mark Gokavi
Dayton Daily News
BOISE, Idaho — One Dayton Bomber already knows what it’s like to win a Kelly Cup.
Bombers left winger Justin Maiser (pictured) was part of Alaska’s championship team last season. That experience can come in handy for teammates.
“He’s the only one, I think, on our team that’s won one,” forward Joe Cullen said. “We kind of look a little bit to him. He knows what it takes and he knows what a team has to do to win it.”
Of course, one other Bomber knows what it’s like to lose in the Kelly Cup Finals — and to Maiser, for that matter.
Two Steelheads spent time as Bombers. Left winger Lance Galbraith played small parts of two seasons in 2002-03 and 03-04 in Dayton. Right winger Marty Flichel, Idaho’s captain, was a Bomber in 1996-97 who had 33 points in 28 games.
Berkhoel should have pleasant memories of Qwest Arena. He was named the All-Star game MVP here earlier this season.
Cozy home in Boise
A magazine travel advertisement for Idaho says, “Nowhere near the beaten path.”
That may be true, but those actually making it to the 5,006-seat Qwest Arena aren’t disappointed. The arena is part of the Grove Hotel in what seems to be a thriving downtown Boise.
Some rooms of the hotel double as suites on the arena’s second level, which don’t count in the official attendances. A postseason game a couple years ago had a crowd of 5,700.
Picture an open-air mall version of Dayton’s Fifth Third Field — cozy enough for the population but with big-league amenities like a giant video board, luxury boxes and an attached restaurant.
• The teams have played just once. The Steelheads recorded a 5-3 victory Feb. 15, 2004, at the Nutter Center. Current Idaho players Darrell Hay (two goals) and Galbraith (one) helped the Steelheads to a 4-1 lead and eventual victory.
• The unfamiliarity between the teams showed early Wednesday as each side finally saw the other on the ice and not just on film.
The game had no flow early and the Bombers couldn’t even manage a shot on goal during a power play. In fact, Dayton led in shots just 3-1 with seven minutes left in the first period. The Bombers outshot Idaho 7-6 in the first, taking a 1-0 lead on a Yannick Tifu goal.
• Dallas Stars General Manager Doug Armstrong was in the press box. The Steelheads are affiliated with Dallas.