This weekend marks the end of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings’ inaugural season as the first-seed Utah Outliers knocked them out of the playoffs in a best-of-three series.
The Outliers won both games, outscoring the Spud Kings by a total of 17-1. The Outliers will compete in the USPHL National Championship tournament in Utica, New York, which starts March 23.
Although the Spud Kings didn’t win it all, they had immense success in their first season. They had a winning record during a 25-game road trip at the start of the season as they waited for their new arena to be built. They ended the season with a five-game winning streak and won a round of playoff hockey.
The Spud Kings successfully introduced high-level hockey to Southeastern Idaho — a feat that had never been done in the area before. They sold out all but three home games. Although many fans were still learning the game of hockey, they showed up with enthusiasm. They cheered every goal and booed every penalty — and every offside, icing and hit. They’re still learning the rules.
It was an especially successful season for Forwards Justin Davis and George Goodwin and Defenseman Matteo Mitrovic. Goodwin finished the season with 32 goals and 52 points, just ahead of Davis’ 21 goals and 50 points. Mitrovic scored over a point per game — one of 24 defensemen in the entire USPHL to accomplish the feat this season.
The team has already started recruiting for next season, during which they might be able to go even further.