DAYTON, Ohio – Steve Silverthorn made 33 saves and John Lammers scored two goals and had an assist to lead Idaho to the Kelly Cup Championship with a 4-1 win at Dayton in front of 3,023 fans at the Nutter Center on Thursday.
Silverthorn was named Most Valuable Player after going 16-6 with three shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.77 and a save percentage of .931 while playing all but 11:43 of Idaho’s 22 game in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. He set the ECHL postseason record for wins and minutes (1,388) while tying for the second-most shutouts and finishing with the fifth-lowest goals-against average.
Idaho reached the Kelly Cup Finals and beat Florida in five games to win the first-ever national ‘AA’ title in 2004, becoming only the second expansion team in history to win the ECHL title, joining the Greensboro Monarchs who beat Winston-Salem in 1990.
Idaho becomes the fourth ECHL team to win two ECHL championships and the second to win the Kelly Cup twice. Hampton Roads won three championships capturing the Riley Cup, presented to the ECHL champion from 1989-96, in 1991 and 1992 and the Kelly Cup in 1998. South Carolina won the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001 and Toledo won the Riley Cup in 1993 and 1994.
Idaho left wings Scott Burt and Lance Galbraith and defenseman Darrell Hay were all members of the Steelheads championship team in 2004, raising the number of players to have their name engraved on the Kelly Cup twice to 15.
Since becoming a national league in 2003-04, the ECHL has seen the Kelly Cup Champion come from Idaho in 2007 and 2004, Alaska in 2006 and New Jersey in 2005. The coast-to-coast league had 25 teams in 15 states and British Columbia, Canada in 2006-07 and will celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 with 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia.
Never missing the Kelly Cup Playoffs in its first four seasons, Idaho was 42-24-6 and finished fourth in the National Conference and sixth in the league with 90 points. After defeating fifth-seed Stockton in six games in the quarterfinals, Idaho upset Las Vegas, which finished first in the ECHL at 46-12-14 and 106 points, in six games in the semifinals. After ending Las Vegas’ ECHL record 18-game winning streak with a 4-1 win in Game 2, the Steelheads won 4-2 in Game 3, the first back-to-back regulation losses for Las Vegas since Dec. 16 and 18. The Steelheads won Game 4 to become the first team since Alaska in the Kelly Cup Playoffs a year ago to win three in a row against Las Vegas. The Steelheads upset defending Kelly Cup Champion Alaska in five games including a 1-0 road win in Game 1 and a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 at Alaska.