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SERIES PREVIEW: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Friday, April 1st
SERIES PREVIEW: Rocky Mountain Revenge

The Steelheads locked up a playoff spot on Wednesday night with their 4-1 win over the Utah Grizzlies, but they are far from done. Now they head out on their final road trip of the season, a three-game swing that will begin with two games in Loveland at Budweiser Events Center against the hard-charging Colorado Eagles.

The Steelheads saw the Eagles just this past weekend, falling twice to Colorado on home ice. The Eagles had the final say in overtime last Friday night for a 5-4 win and then topped Idaho in regulation on Saturday, 4-2, to snap the Steelheads’ eight-game home points streak. Now the Steelheads will have to return the favor to slow down a Colorado team that has won four straight games and is just three points behind Idaho in the West Division with five games remaining.

Emil Molin carries a three-game points streak into the weekend series with the Eagles, with his assist on Jefferson Dahl’s game-winner on Wednesday giving him five points since his return from AHL Texas. His line, along with Dahl and Rob Linsmayer, has arguably been Idaho’s best over that stretch. They have accounted for six of the team’s ten goals in the last three games and earned at least a point on eight of those goals. Dahl’s 22 goals lead the team, while Linsmayer has five points in the last three contests.

Joe Basaraba and Andre Morrissette also scored on Wednesday night. Basaraba’s tally to open the scoring on Wednesday gives him nine goals and 19 points in his last 15 games. The center on that line, Carson McMillan, has points in back-to-back games and 15 in the past 14 contests.

The Eagles are 5-0-1 in their last six games and just spun off four consecutive road wins, where they were well below .500 on the season a week ago. Now the Eagles return home for their last two games of the season at Budweiser Events Center, where they are 22-8-4 this year.

Forward Trent Daavettila is a legitimate MVP candidate with five games remaining. The veteran scorer is second in the ECHL with 74 points, third with 49 assists, and tied for fourth with a plus-28 rating. Daavettila has four goals and nine points during his current four-game points streak, and six goals and 15 points in the last ten contests.

As the Steelheads learned last weekend, the Eagles boast a deep scoring arsenal beyond Daavettila. Kyle Kraemer has scored 18 goals this season, but six have come in seven games against Idaho. Jesse Mychan’s 27 goals are tied for second in the ECHL, though he hasn’t scored in the past nine games. Adrian Veideman leads all ECHL defensemen with 16 goals and six game-winning goals. He ranks second in the league with 43 points, and he posted a three-point night last Friday at CenturyLink Arena.

The Steelheads are 3-3-2 against the Eagles this season, and went 1-1-1 in their only visit to Colorado this season in mid-November.

STEELHEAD TO WATCH

Kruise Reddick netted his first pro goal in the third period Wednesday night to give the Steelheads a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 win. Reddick was signed last Saturday to give the Steelheads an added scoring punch after collecting 118 points over five seasons at the University of Alberta, and the formula was on display Wednesday. Reddick’s finishing ability coupled with the speed of Kyle Jean and the jam provided by Andrew Carroll created forecheck opportunities from Idaho. The Steelheads will need a deep attack to succeed in Colorado and if Reddick can build on his first two professional performances, Neil Graham will have options.

EAGLE TO WATCH

The Steelheads got their first look at rookie sniper Johnny Lazo last weekend and saw why he is racing up the rookie scoring list. Lazo netted two goals on Friday night and another on Saturday. A former teammate of Reddick at both the University of Alberta and with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, Lazo has 21 goals and 36 points in just 34 games for Colorado along with a plus-13 rating. Lazo doesn’t have size but he does have speed and a shot that can beat goaltenders from high in the zone. Lazo was arguably the Eagles’ best player last weekend in Boise.

KEY MATCHUP

The Steelheads haven’t needed any reminders this season to focus on the task at hand. They’ll need to have that focus in Colorado to fend off the Eagles and continue on their next mission to secure the division title. The Steelheads no longer face the pressure of having to lock up a ticket to the post-season, but the Eagles will still be in full-on battle mode. Especially at home, that could mean a more physical tone from the Eagles than what we saw from them in Boise. Expect a scrappy and bitter weekend between two teams that could easily meet in the playoffs. Above all else, this is still an intense race for first place between two teams with deep scoring rosters. Idaho can’t get wrapped up in one aspect at the expense of the other.777

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Wednesday, March 20th
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, March 22nd
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Saturday, March 23rd
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena

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