The powerplay has never been a strong suit for the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, but their penalty kill is usually pretty good. They finished the regular season with the second-best penalty killing record in the NCDC Mountain Division, but that success has not translated to the playoffs thus far.

With a final score of 4-1, the Spud Kings find them down 1-0 in a best-of-five playoff series with the Ogden Mustangs.

The game

Brody Simko opened the scoring with a powerplay goal late in the first period, then followed it up with another powerplay marker midway through the second.

Matvei Naumov pulled the Spuds within one with a breakaway goal, beating Nikita Volski with a deke to the right which left Naumov with an open net to shoot at.

The game remained 2-1 for some time. It looked like Spud Kings head coach John Becanic’s proverbial musing from earlier in the year might take effect again when he told Scroll that he’d rather play a 2-1 game than a 7-6 game. That may have been the case against the Mustangs if his team hadn’t run into penalty trouble in the third period.

Nine minutes into the third period, Easton Edwards took an interference penalty in the offensive zone, putting his team short-handed. The Mustangs’ lethal powerplay struck for a third time, putting them up 3-1.

Not long after that, Franco Canevari was called for boarding. Roman Cherniak capitalized on the powerplay opportunity, putting the final dagger in the Spud Kings with 1:35 left in the third.

What’s next?

The Spud Kings and Mustangs play again in Ogden on Saturday night. Regardless of the outcome, they’ll play in Idaho Falls on Monday. If extra games are necessary, they’ll take place in Idaho Falls on Wednesday and Ogden on Saturday, April 6.

Tickets to the Spud Kings’ first-ever home playoff game sold out in 10 hours, according to the team’s social media accounts. Tickets to Wednesday’s game are still available on the Spud Kings’ website. If the game is not needed, the money will be returned to the ticket holders.