Steelheads gearing up for playoffs

The Idaho Steelheads begin the ECHL playoffs on Thursday in Texas against the Allen Americans.

After 72 games, the Idaho Steelheads' record goes back to 0-0, along with 15 other ECHL teams.

"It's just a new season," defenseman Shawn Boutin said. "For me, the season is to get ready for the playoffs."

Idaho (38-24-10) drew the fifth seed in the Western Conference and will take on No. 4 Allen (41-24-7), beginning Thursday.

"As soon as you step on the ice you can tell guys are going that much harder," forward Rob Linsmayer said. "Everything matters that much more. The mistakes are amplified."

"It's a little different," team captain Carson McMillan said. "It's a little more intense. I think there are a lot less mistakes. It's a fun time of the year."

The Steelheads have existed for 19 years.

They've made the playoffs in all 19 seasons.

"Yes it's exciting to get in," head coach Neil Graham said. "Our goal from day one was to get into the playoffs but we have higher hopes and higher expectations moving forward. We put that pressure on ourselves but it is something we embrace and that's just something about being an Idaho Steelhead."

Games one and two will be in Allen. The best-of-seven series comes to Boise for games three and four, and if necessary game five.

Game three is slated for Wednesday, April 20 at 7:10 p.m. MT.

Idaho went 2-1-1 against Allen in the regular season.