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POWER RANKINGS: ECHL Penalty Kill Units

Wednesday, March 8th
POWER RANKINGS: ECHL Penalty Kill Units

This is the weekly edition of Idaho Steelheads Power Rankings, where we at IdahoSteelheads.com will see where the Steelheads and their players rank among the best of the best in the ECHL.

The Steelheads’ penalty kill surrendered two goals on Saturday night, a rarity of late with the Steelheads’ shorthanded unit rocketing up the rankings in the second half of the season. Surely, Idaho’s penalty killing has been among the league’s best, but where does it land on the list? Let’s find out!

5) Florida Everblades – 84.2 percent

Brad Ralph finished his final season behind the bench in Idaho in 2015 with the league’s fourth-best penalty kill, a unit then-assistant coach Neil Graham helped to run. Ralph is having similar success in his first season in Estero, his penalty-killing units ranked fifth in the ECHL. Much of the Everblades’ high ranking can be credited to their performance on home ice, where they have been a better team overall. At Germain Arena, the Everblades have the third-ranked penalty-kill in the ECHL. On the road, they are ranked 18th in the league. The Everblade kill climbed from 13th place on New Year’s Day, but has come back to Earth a bit in recent games. In their last ten contests, the Everblades are 25-for-31 on the kill (80.6 percent) and have surrendered multiple power play goals in a game twice. They also scored two shorthanded goals in that stretch, and they rank second in the league with 13.

4) South Carolina Stingrays – 84.4 percent

Another South Division team joins the list, with the South Carolina Stingrays hoping their strong PK performance can put them over the hump and back into a playoff spot. That unit certainly had its struggles against the league’s top power play this past weekend, when the Colorado Eagles went 4-for-12 with the man advantage in a three game series. Prior to that series, the Stingrays surrendered three power play goals in three games to the Rapid City Rush and their 17th ranked PP.

3) Idaho Steelheads – 84.6 percent

The first Western Conference team to appear, the Steelheads PK had its first off night in quite a while on Saturday when the Rush power play went 2-for-5. Prior to that Idaho had been dominant while a man down, killing off 34 of the prior 35 disadvantages (97.1 percent), with seven of those games coming on the road. The Steelheads were 18th in the ECHL on the kill at the start of action on January 21st. Since then the Steelheads have climbed to third in the league while also netting five shorthanded goal. The Steelheads penalty-kill finished second in the league last season in Neil Graham’s first season as head coach.

2) Brampton Beast – 85.1 percent

The Brampton Beast have been an improved defensive team this season compared to last, giving up 197 goals so far this year compared to 255 last season. Of those 255 goals against, 65 were given up on a penalty kill that ranked 27th out of 28 teams. This year’s Beast team has given up just 37 power play goals, and just one in the last 22 shorthanded situations. The Beast kill has been particularly strong away from home ice, where it ranks fourth in the ECHL.

1) Toledo Walleye – 85.5 percent

The Walleye and the Steelheads are the only teams in the ECHL that rank in the top-5 in both power play and penalty kill. The Walleye penalty kill is 33-for-36 over its last ten contests (91.7 percent), and hasn’t given up more than one power play goal in a contest since January 25th against the Wheeling Nailers, 17 games ago. The Walleye have given up multiple power play goals in a game just seven times this season, five of them coming against the Nailers. In each of the past two years, both Kelly Cup finalists (South Carolina and Allen) finished in the top-3 in penalty-killing ranking. In 2014-15 the Walleye placed between them, and last season it was the Steelheads.

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