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PREVIEW: Game #1 - Steelheads @ Thunder

Friday, October 12th
PREVIEW: Game #1 - Steelheads @ Thunder

PREVIEW: Idaho Steelheads (0-0-0) @ Wichita Thunder (0-0-0)

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2012 | 6:05 | INTRUST BANK ARENA | WICHITA, KSRADIO: 1350AM KTIK "THE TICKET" | VIDEO: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads open the 2018-19 regular season on the road with a one-game meeting against the Whichta Thunder from Instrust Bank Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Thunder will meet six times during the regular season with all three road meetings coming before their lone weekend in Boise. Last year, the Steelheads split their four-game schedule including a split of their two-game sets at home and on the road. Since the Thunder joined the ECHL prior to the 2015-16 season, the Steelheads own a 3-2-1 record in their franchise meetings.

Preseason Wrap: The Steelheads split their two-game preseaon schedule against the Utah Grizzlies, winning 5-1 on Friday in Utah and falling 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads own a four-game unbeaten streak in the preseason, which is the best mark in the last decade, despite falling in a shootout on Saturday. The team played from both a leading early and trailing late scenario to pick up points prior to regular season action. Forwards Brad McClure and Kyle Schempp led wtih three points (2g, 1a), and goaltenders Ryan Farager and Tomas Sholl each let in one goal during regulation.

Last Season: The Steelheads enter the 2018-19 season after their best finish under Head Coach Neil Graham, closing with a 44-20-5-3 record with 96 points, which placed them second in the Mountain Division and were one of six teams with at least 90 points. The postseason appearance also extended their streak to 21 years, which is the longest in professional hockey, and their 15-year streak in the ECHL is tied for the longest in league history. In the opening round, the Steelheads became the second team in ECHL history to reverse sweep an opponent after trailing 3-0 in the series. However, the Steelheads fell 4-0 in the Mountain Division Final to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Colorado Eagles.

Roster Overview: Yesterday, the Steelheads announced their opening night roster for the 2018-19 season The Steelheads roster has a combined 1,844 regular season professional experience entering the 2018-19 season with 1,035 games in the ECHL. Nevins leads all skaters with 250 professional games played, and McParland leads the team with 109 points (51-58=109) through 125 career games. 10 players return from the 2017-18 roster, and 10 more players are listed as rookies to begin the season. Both goaltenders have a combined 24-7-4 record with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage from the 2017-18 season.

Opening Night: For the second time in the last three years, the Steelheads begin the season on the road and the first time in Wichita. Last year, the Steelheads won their season opener 4-2 over the Norfolk Admirals but fell in their road opener 3-0 against the Utah Grizzlies. In their last road opener, the Steelheads slipped 4-1 in Utah. The Steelheads have the edge their opening game with a 2-1-0 record over the last three seasons, and their last road opener win was on Oct. 21, 2015 in Alaska (4-3 SOW).

Clap Back: The Wichita Thunder were the fourth and final team in the Mountain Division to make the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2017-18 following a 34-30-6-2 record with 76 points, edging out the Tulsa Oilers by two points and sitting two points behind the Allen Americans for third place. It was their first postseason apperance since joining the ECHL in the 2015-16 season and best record in the ECHL era. The Thunder would fall 4-2 to the Colorado Eagles in the Mountain Division Semifinals.

Rumbling Returns: The Thunder retained three of their top-six scorers form the 2017-18 season, including top-scorer Ralph Cuddemi and top-scoring defenseman Jeremy Beaudry. Cuddemi has tallied over 50 points in each of his first two full seasons in the ECHL, posting 116 points (60g, 56a) through 143 career games between Florida, Utah, Fort Wayne and Wichita. The Ontario native skated in Bakersfield Training Camp following last season’s results. Dufour tripled his point production in his second season, totaling 30 points (15g, 15a) and setting career-highs in all scoring categories. As a defenseman, he has 47 points (22g, 25a) through 78 career ECHL games.

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Idaho Steelheads 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Rapid City Rush 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Tulsa Oilers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Utah Grizzlies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Wichita Thunder 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000

Next Game: The Steelheads continue their three-game opening weekend on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 6:05 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers from BOK Center. Coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. on 1350-AM KTIK and ECHL TV.

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