The Idaho Falls Spud Kings fell 2-1 to the Ogden Mustangs on Friday.

Idaho Falls entered Friday just one point ahead of the Pueblo Bulls for the final playoff spot in the NCDC Mountain Division with two games in hand. The Bulls didn’t play on Friday, which meant that the Spud Kings burned one of their games in hand.

The Spud Kings jumped ahead early in the first period when a puck took an odd bounce and beat Tade Carman to give them a 1-0 lead. Easton Edwards was credited with the goal.

Tucker Inabinet stood strong in goal for Idaho Falls for the first 40 minutes, stopping all 30 shots he faced and helping to kill three Spud King penalties. The Spud Kings bent at times during the second period, but they did not break.

“I thought we were good in the first, and then the last two periods I thought they took it to us,” said Spud Kings coach John Becanic post-game.

Idaho Falls surrendered their lead with 14:04 remaining as Parker Osborn caught them in the middle of a change and broke into the zone on a breakaway. Osborn faked out Inabinet and slid the puck past his outstretched left pad to tie the game.

Ogden ran into penalty trouble midway through the period, taking a too-many-men penalty and then Tom Jacques was called for a roughing penalty with 22 seconds left in the original minor. The Spud Kings gained momentum on the powerplay, but they we unable to solve Carman.

Tragedy struck for the Spud Kings with 1:22 remaining after they surrendered the blue line to Teddie Hember, who flicked a puck through Inabinet.

“Was it a bad goal? Sure,” Becanic said. “It happens, right? Tucker’s won us a lot of games. But he should never have been able to gain the blue line like he did. And that’s the game.”

Injury issues

The Spud Kings have been banged up all year, and Friday was no different.

Aidan Radic made his Idaho Falls debut on Friday and he looked noticeable at times. He forechecked and provided energy while playing on a line with Luke Steffen and Landon Steffen.

Injury issues plagued the Spud Kings during the game, as they were forced to switch Brayden Lewis to defense midway through the game.

“We’re playing through some injuries right now and you know we had to play the last two periods with Brayden Lewis at D and that’s how injured we are right now,” Becanic said.

Time to bounce back

“We’ve been playing playoff hockey since January,” Becanic said. “Every game we’ve had to try. And so, we’ll refocus. You know, get our energy. This game took a lot of energy. We’re a pretty tired group right now.”

There will be no time for the Spud Kings to lick their wounds as they will stay on the road to face the Rock Springs Grizzlies on Saturday.

“Rock Springs has proven that they can score goals, and you know, anything can happen tomorrow night,” Becanic said. “So we win tomorrow night and we come home three points up with two to go. We’d like our chances, right, but right now it’s a bit of a bitter pill.”

Saturday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on FloHockey.