BOISE, ID - The Walleye faced defeat for the first time in their 2023 Kelly Cup Playoff run after falling to Idaho, 3-0, in game one of the Western Conference Finals.
The Western Conference Final series between the Toledo Walleye and Idaho Steelheads kicked off tonight at Idaho Central Arena. Despite a slashing penalty going to Toledo defenseman Seth Barton just 30 seconds into the opening period, the score remained tied at zero after one period of play. The Steelheads took the 13-10 edge in shots throughout those 20 minutes.
Toledo began the second period with the man advantage thanks to a double roughing minor that went to Idaho's Justin Ducharme at the end of the first. Just over four minutes into the middle period, Jade Miller opened up the scoring to put the Steelheads up 1-0. Each team picked up two more penalties in the remainder of the period, but Idaho's one-goal lead stuck into the third. After 40 minutes, the Steelheads continued to lead in the shot department by a count of 24-20.
Toledo dominated for much of the third period, but a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct to Andrew Sturtz late in the seventh minute presented a new challenge for the Walleye. With 1:14 remaining on the Idaho power play, Ty Pelton-Byce put the Steelheads up by two. Late in the 17th minute, Sebastian Cossa left his net for the extra Walleye skater. Less than two minutes later at the 19:10 mark, Willie Knierim found the empty Toledo net to settle the game at a score of 3-0 in favor of Idaho.
- Idaho took the final edge in shots by a count of 33-29.
- Sebastian Cossa made 30 saves in the Toledo net. His postseason record now sits at 4-1-0.
Toledo and Idaho will go head-to-head for game two of the series tomorrow, May 21, at an earlier start time of 6:10 p.m. EST.