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Preview: Lone Star Series

Wednesday, December 21st
Preview: Lone Star Series

The Idaho Steelheads look for their third straight win overall, and their third straight win against the Allen Americans, when they visit Allen Event Center on Thursday night for the first game of a two-game set before Christmas. The Americans are playing better hockey than when these teams last met, winners of three straight games and now tied with Idaho in the Mountain Division standings.

The Americans are coming off a win in Tulsa on Tuesday night that was a special teams spectacular. The Americans were 3-for-3 with the man advantage and notched a short-handed goal as well. Chad Costello and Spencer Asuchak each scored twice, while David Makowski had two assists and a plus-3 rating.

Costello leads the ECHL in scoring again with 44 points in 30 games, putting up points in 19 of the last 20 games. Greger Hanson is also finding the net at a strong clip, currently riding a seven-game points streak in which he’s netted five goals and 11 points. Asuchak has 12 goals this season, already tying his career-best mark for a single season.

In net, Riley Gill ranks second among ECHL goaltenders with 13 wins and fifth with a goals-against average of 2.35. His three shutouts lead the ECHL.

The Steelheads will counter with some hot hands of their own. Travis Ewanyk has three goals and six points during a three-game points streak, and 17 points in the last 17 games. Rob Linsmayer is coming off a two-goal performance in Idaho’s win over Rapid City on Saturday, now with three goals in his last four periods of hockey. Jefferson Dahl has two goals and six points in the last five games.

Branden Komm remains Idaho’s only contracted goaltender on the active roster with Henri Kiviaho on injured reserve, but that hasn’t been a problem for Idaho. Komm has won consecutive starts and has a .929 save percentage over his last seven outings.

The Steelheads are 2-0-0 this season against Allen, defeating them twice in late November at Allen Event Center. This is the Steelheads’ first visit to Allen since Game 7 of the playoffs last season.

STEELHEAD TO WATCH

Anthony Luciani continues to be a scoring presence for Idaho. Travis Ewanyk is leading the Steelheads in goal-scoring, but Luciani has been both a goal-scorer and facilitator in recent weeks. Luciani has four goals and eight points in his last six games, including a three-point game in Idaho’s last outing. Luciani has two 3-point performances in Idaho’s last four games. Luciani has one goal this season against Allen.

AMERICAN TO WATCH

David Makowski is back in an Americans uniform. The defenseman started the season in Austria, but in early December he returned for a second season in Allen. Last year, Makowski led all ECHL defensemen with 17 goals and also recorded 20 points in 18 playoff games. Makowski is right at home again in Texas with a goal and eight points in seven games, along with a plus-11 rating. Makowski had two goals and six points in the playoffs against Idaho last year.

KEY MATCHUP

The Steelheads need to stay out of the box in Allen this week to have success. The Americans scored three power play goals on Tuesday, and they’ve scored on seven consecutive man-advantages over the last three games. In that span, Allen is 8-for-13 on the power play, with Allen getting two power play goals from Greger Hanson in that stretch and a goal and four assists from David Makowski. Idaho has given up five goals on their last 19 penalty kills, and three goals on their last 14 kills on the road.

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