By Chris Langrill
The Idaho Statesman
DAYTON, Ohio — Idaho Steelheads goalie Steve Silverthorn doesn’t like the spotlight. His teammates say that he’s a humble guy who likes to deflect praise to other players, much like he deflects pucks on the ice.
But there was no avoiding the spotlight Thursday night, because Silverthorn was voted MVP of the ECHL playoffs after leading Idaho to a 4-1 win over the Dayton Bombers at the Nutter Center.
The win propelled the Steelheads to a 4-1 series win in the Kelly Cup Finals.
Silverthorn’s teammates named him the Steelheads MVP at the end of the regular season, and then he showed the rest of the league why in the playoffs.
“If you look at any championship team, the goaltender is going to be a big part of the reason why they’re there,” Steelheads captain Marty Flichel said. “He has stood on his head. … He’s just real composed in there, and he’s a real humble guy.”
Silverthorn was an ironman for Idaho in the playoffs, logging a league-high 1,388 minutes in 22 games while compiling a playoff record of 16-6. His goals-against average was 1.77.
Idaho was outshot 34-15 on Thursday.
No problem for Silverthorn.
All of it seemed to impress the man for whom the ECHL championship trophy is named
“When you can keep (the goal-against average) under two, it gives you a lot of credibility,” Patrick Kelly said.
Silverthorn was taken aback by the award — and his team’s championship win.
“No one really expected this of us,” he said. “To be quite honest, I didn’t. The team just really meshed in the playoffs. We got some guys down from Iowa, and just went from there.”
The Kelly Cup Finals were a matchup of two of the best goaltenders in the ECHL this season. Dayton goalie Adam Berkhoel was named the ECHL goalie of the year, and he was named the MVP of the ECHL All-Star Game that was played in Boise in January.
It was Silverthorn who won the league title, however. But, true to form he said the victory wasn’t about two goalies.
“What it comes down to is team versus team,” he said.