1. Home
  2. News
  3. Series Preview: Eagles Landing

Series Preview: Eagles Landing

Tuesday, January 10th
Series Preview: Eagles Landing

After grabbing five of six points against the Alaska Aces, the Steelheads’ first home stand of 2017 doesn’t get any easier. The Colorado Eagles, the second-place team in the Mountain Division, come to Boise for the first time this season. The Eagles lead the Steelheads by two points in the division, and the Steelheads hope to take advantage of this head-to-head matchup to climb back to the top spot.

The Steelheads and Eagles have already met five times this season, all in Loveland at Budweiser Events Center. The Steelheads are 2-2-1 this season against the Eagles, but came away with just one point in the last three-game set between the teams in early December. The Steelheads head into Wednesday’s contest riding a five-game points streak (4-0-1) and have the third-best home record in the league, while Colorado is coming off back-to-back wins against Orlando.

Will Merchant has the hot hand for the Steelheads during his four-game points streak. The rookie forward scored twice on Saturday night against Alaska and has three goals and eight points since New Year’s Eve. Anthony Luciani is also finding the back of the net for Idaho, matching Idaho’s longest goal-scoring streak of the season with tallies in each of his last three games. Luciani has 31 points this year, as does Travis Ewanyk. Ewanyk has been held off the score sheet in just two of Idaho’s past 11 games.

Idaho’s strong home record will be challenged by the West’s third-best road team. The Eagles did take their last two games against the Solar Bear, but they have not been flying in purely friendly skies. The Eagles blew a 3-1 lead last Wednesday in the third period to lose to Orlando, and they dropped two of three to the Aces in the prior series.

Casey Pierro-Zabotel is eighth in the league in scoring, riding a three-game points streak into Idaho. He has a goal and five assists this season against the Steelheads, earning at least one point in every game between them this season. Luke Salazar also has points in three consecutive games, including a three-assist night on Sunday.

The Steelheads did a decent job in limiting league-leading goal scorer Peter Sivak when the Aces were in town, and now will have another challenge in Jesse Mychan. Mychan enters the game tied for second in the ECHL with 21 goals, four of which have come against the Steelheads this season. Mychan has scored in each of his last two contests.

The Steelheads will have to tighten up their penalty kill against the Eagles to have success this week, just as strong penalty killing helped them in the Aces series. The Eagles are 6-for-22 on the power play against Idaho this season, scoring with the man-advantage in four of the five meetings.

STEELHEAD TO WATCH

Joe Basaraba is finding the back of the net again for Idaho. After struggling to score goals for much of December, Basaraba’s goal on Saturday against the Aces was his fourth in the past six games. Basaraba has a goal and an assist against the Eagles this season, both coming in the same game, but his speed in the neutral zone makes him a threat to create chances in transition against a Colorado defense that likes to be aggressive. His wrist shot high in the zone can also be a threat if Idaho can get regular traffic in front of Eagles’ goaltenders Clarke Saunders and Kent Simpson.

EAGLE TO WATCH

Speaking of aggressive defensemen, Matt Register has been one of the best scoring blue-liners in the ECHL this season. Register’s 35 points in 35 games lead all ECHL defensemen, eight more than Wheeling’s Kevin Schulze. Register is also third among d-men with eight goals, though he hasn’t found the back of the net in his last seven contests. Register netted two goals and six points in the last three-game set against the Steelheads. Idaho will have to be wary of him, especially creeping down from the weak-side point in search of feeds from Casey Pierro-Zabotel.

KEY MATCHUP

Turnovers have been a steady storyline for the season series. Mistakes between the blue lines have regularly led to odd-man rushes and goals this year, especially when Jesse Mychan is on the ice. With the physical style that is inevitable whenever these two teams get together, there will be turnovers for sure. They key for Idaho will be getting pucks deep and using their heavy forecheck to create opportunities deep in Colorado territory like they did against Alaska. Turnovers in the neutral zone, with speedy players like Luke Salazar coming the other way and defensemen like Matt Register and Jake Marto eager to jump into the rush, will put a lot of pressure on an Idaho blue line that has already had to get creative with the discovery of David Glen. The Steelheads don’t need to get into a track meet with the Eagles, and forcing them into a bump-and-run game with short passing lanes is likely a style the Eagles would rather not play. That game will also mean more line-changes on dump-ins for Colorado, and less crash-and-bang from a team that’s always looking to rough it up.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Utah Grizzlies
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, October 18th
Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Utah Grizzlies
UTA Utah Grizzlies
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
Idaho Steelheads
Wednesday, October 23rd
Toledo Walleye @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, October 25th
Toledo Walleye @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena

Latest News

More News
IDAHO STEELHEADS ANNOUNCE PROTECTED LIST
IDAHO STEELHEADS ANNOUNCE PROTECTED LIST
IDAHO STEELHEADS ANNOUNCE 2024-25 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
IDAHO STEELHEADS ANNOUNCE 2024-25 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS

Get Hockey Updates

Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about news and upcoming games!