By Ed Reed
BOISE, Idaho — The Kelly Cup, the ECHL’s championship trophy, was being kept inside the Bank of America Centre Thursday and could be in the hands of the Idaho Steelheads by Friday night.
Although they are down 3-0 in the best-of-7 finals series, the Florida Everblades said they are not ready to concede the league title just yet.
“No team in the history of the ECHL has come back from a three-game deficit,” Florida coach Gerry Fleming said. “We have a great, great opportunity. We really do. How do you do it? Shift by shift. It’s a monumental undertaking, but it’s an opportunity and the guys have to look at it that way.”
Florida forward Tom Buckley came out of retirement with 20 games left in the regular season for one more shot to be called a champion.
“We’re not out of it,” Buckley said. “I don’t think anybody in this room is walking around thinking we’re done. Take it game-by-game, period-by-period.
“It’s fun now. They have to beat us. They have to close the series out. The hardest thing to do is close a series out. If we can win three games in a row, they know we can win three games in a row. … I think we have a great group of quality guys in this room, a lot of character that now we can win three hockey games. They can beat us three, we know we can beat them three.”
Florida veteran forward John McNabb has waited a long time to reach a championship series and he’s just focusing on tonight’s game. The big picture can wait.
“I don’t want to get swept,” McNabb said. “I don’t want to lose four straight. I don’t want that to happen and I hope it doesn’t happen. I know guys won’t quit.”
Florida forward Brian McCullough added, “Go into tomorrow, you get one win and take it from there. We’ll see what kind of character we have in this locker room. We’ll see what we’re made of.”