Playoff Hockey Round Three

Round Three Playoff Preview: Lake Tahoe Icemen vs Idaho IceCats at Idaho

This weekend the Tahoe Icemen head to Idaho to face-off against the Idaho IceCats in a best-of-three series.  This is the last hurdle in the way of the Icemen moving on to El Paso to compete for the Thorne Cup.  The IceCats have a guaranteed spot in El Paso because they ended the season at the top of the Northwest Division.  Head Coach Mickey Lang is optimistic leading into the weekend, “we’re excited.  We’re one step away from our goal of getting to El Paso.  It will take everyone to get the job done, but we’re prepared and ready to go.  I’ll do my best to put every guy in a position to succeed this weekend and I’ll be every guy’s biggest fan.  I hope we play the way we’re capable of, if we do, everything will take care of itself.”  Should Tahoe triumph in Idaho, the IceCats head to El Paso as the wildcard. 

Both the Icemen and the IceCats eliminated their opponents in two games.  The IceCats outscored the fourth-place West Sound Warriors 24 – 2.  The Icemen outscored the third-place Bellingham Blazers 14 – 7.  The Warriors seemed to go quietly, and the Icecats only racked up 16 penalty minutes in two games.  Bellingham wanted to go down swinging and Tahoe was happy to oblige, earning 138 penalty minutes in a similar two games.  In nine regular season games between Tahoe and Idaho, the Icemen were only able to come away with one, but the pressure isn’t on for the IceCats.  Though they may not want to disappoint home fans with a loss, they have a guaranteed spot and may hold back this weekend to avoid injuries and suspensions in the next round.

Overview

The Tahoe Icemen head to Idaho with a regular season away record of 13-11-1, and 59 points in 51 games.  They finished the season in the second spot in the Northwest Division.  The Icemen have 241 goals for, and 226 goals against in the regular season.  They have a 24% success rate on the powerplay, and a 78% success rate on the penalty kill.  The Icemen sit second overall in penalty minutes in the regular season with 1457, and average of almost 29 minutes per game.

The Idaho Icecats have a 23-1-1 record at home, with 91 points in 51 games overall this season.  They finished the regular season at the top of the Northwest Division.  The IceCats have 306 goals for, and 103 goals against.  The Icemen scored 29% of the total goals against Idaho even though the games against Tahoe only make up 18% of Idaho’s season.  The IceCats have a 29% success rate on the powerplay, and an 88% success rate on the penalty kill.  The Icecats earned 965 penalty minutes in the regular season, an average of almost 19 minutes per game.

Goaltending

The Icemen have three goaltenders on their roster.  Wade Conlan (1) has a 0.889 save percentage in 37 games played.  Tommy Spero (29) has a 0.893 save percentage and 1 assist in 33 games played.  Max Haselbacher (30) has a 0.905 save percentage and 2 assists in 31 games played.  Haselbacher (30) started both games for Tahoe this weekend and has a post season 0.901 save percentage in 2 games.

The Idaho IceCats have three goaltenders on their roster.  Victor Ojdal (1) has a 0.883 save percentage in 6 games played.  Jacob Hough (30) has 1 assist and a 0.921 save percentage in 40 games played.  Tyler Matthews (33) has a 0.941 save percentage in 22 games played.  Victor Ojdal (1) started both games last weekend and has a post season save percentage of 0.938 in 2 games played.

Predictions

Tahoe forces a game three this weekend.

The IceCats head to El Paso no matter the outcome.  That being said, Idaho may not push as hard as they would if they weren’t guaranteed a spot.  This could be it for the Icemen, and they’ll be putting it all one the line.  They’re coming off a big weekend at home, and hopefully the momentum will carry them through the series in Idaho.

By Harper Dial

RELATED BY