The Idaho Steelheads are still feeling the effects from the longest game in ECHL history. Still talking about it. Still celebrating it. Still recovering from it.
Head coach Brad Ralph said people from all corners of the hockey world have reached out to congratulate him and his team for their four-overtime, series-clinching victory over Colorado Monday night.
The atta-boys and high-fives are starting to subside, however, and the Steelheads are getting focused on their next opponent. Ralph and company arrived in Alaska early Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of Idaho's Western Conference Semifinals series against the Alaska Aces, which begins Thursday night.
The Steelheads haven't practiced since Monday's marathon victory, and Ralph said his players will only skate briefly on Thursday morning.
"Their legs are going to be what they're going to be," explained Ralph. "They can do a lot of things, whether its the cold tub, rolling out, riding the bike, stretching... Just making sure they're eating healthy and staying hydrated. By staying off the ice, that was my goal- to make sure they have the optimal amount of energy."
That energy will come in handy against the top-seeded Aces, whose 97 points were an ECHL-best during the regular season. Idaho finished 6-5-1 against Alaska this year.
"They find a way to recruit some of the top players in our league," said Ralph. "I think this year they've been fortunate, in that their affiliate (the AHL's Abbotsford Heat and the NHL's Calgary Flames) has helped them out a lot. They're very deep at every position."
Game two will be played Friday night in Anchorage, with the series swinging back to Boise for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday.