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PREVIEW: Game #18 – Steelheads @ Rush

Wednesday, November 21st
PREVIEW: Game #18 – Steelheads @ Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (7-7-3) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (7-6-3)

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21, 2018 | 7:05 PMRUSHMORE PLAZA CIVIC CENTER | RAPID CITY, SDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads close their six-game home stand and reach the midway game of their six-game stretch against the Rapid City Rush from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have points in both games against the Rush to open the series with a 1-0-0-1 record heading into the third game of their six-game stretch over two weeks. The Steelheads now have wins in 12 of their last 15 games against the Rush while taking six of seven at home. Overall, the Steelheads own a 27-10-3 record against the Rush.

Last Night: The Steelheads scored twice on the power play en route to a 3-2 win over the Rush on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward Steve McParland (10:05 1st) scored the opening goal and lone tally of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. The Rush scored two goals starting with defenseman Riley Weselowski (3:27 2nd) followed by forward Michael Turner (SH, 8:40 2nd) to take a 2-1 lead. The Steelheads answered again with a pair of power play goals from forward A.J. White (PP, 9:47 2nd) then defenseman Colton Saucerman (PP, 19:17 2nd), edging ahead 3-2. The Steelheads would hold down the Rush to take the win. Tomas Sholl (2-2-0) halted 20 of 22 shots in the win, while Michael Bitzer (3-2-1) stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss.

Home, Sweet Home: The Steelheads finished the six-game home stand strong both offensively and defensively. The Steelheads earned a 3-1-1-1 record with points in four-straight games including three meetings against the Rush. During the home stand, the Steelheads scored the game’s opening goal in five of six games and led after the first period in four of those six games with a 9-4 goal differential. The Steelheads still played their opponents close, ending with one-goal differentials in all six games to extend their early stretch to 14 of 17 games with that differential.

Overpowered: The Steelheads threatened the Rush early and often on Saturday night, posting 58 shots during their overtime win. The shot total is the most since Oct. 27, 2017 in a meeting with the Rapid City Rush, and their 22-shot second period is the highest period total since their 27-shot output against the Rush during the second period on Dec. 20, 2017. It’s the fifth time this season the Steelheads recorded 40 shots or more, and the 42 shots combined from the second and third period would be the third-highest shot total for a game outside of Saturday’s result. The game boosts their season total to 34.06 shots per game, jumping their average up around 1.50 shots per game.

Short Unsweet: The penalty kill for the Steelheads has kept improving during the home stand and head into the weekend perfect against the Rush. The Steelheads killed off all 11 chances over their three-game weekend, marking the first time this season the Steelheads went three-straight games with a perfect killing record and the second time since the opening weekend with at least back-to-back clean sheets. In addition, Steve McParland’s shorthanded goal marks their fourth of the season and first since October 20 (11 games).

A Turtle’s Race: The struggles early in games continued for the Rapid City Rush during their first three games against the Steelheads. In all three games, the Rush conceded the opening goal, stretching their streak to five-straight games in this situation, and keeping them to just five opening goals in 16 games (3-2-0-0 record). They were also outscored 4-1 in the first period, which illustrates their trend of starting slow shown by the fewest first period goals in the ECHL (eight). They have a -12 goal differential in the first period, which is also a league-worst. However, the team has a +8 goal differential in the third period, which ranks second in the ECHL behind Cincinnati (+13).

Bullet Heck: Rush goaltender Adam Carlson saved a career-high 58 shots in Saturday’s overtime loss, and with the heavy workload he’s been consistent in net over the last few seasons. In eight games, he’s averaging 39.88 shots against per game, which is over 10 shots per game higher than his average in each of his last two seasons (24.94 in 2017-18; 26.96 in 2016-17) and the most of his career, surpassing his 34.29 shots against per game mark at Mercyhurst College in 2015-16 as well as his 34.78 shots against per game mark in juniors with Coulee Region (NAHL). Despite the pressure, Carlson has the best save percentage in the ECHL (.937) shared with Michael Houser (Cincinnati) and ranks in the top-15 for goals-against average (2.49). Carlson was one of the runners-up for ECHL Goaltender of the Week, going 1-0-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Kansas City Mavericks 13 10 2 1 0 21 .808
Utah Grizzlies 14 9 2 3 0 21 .750
Tulsa Oilers 14 8 2 2 2 20 .714
Idaho Steelheads 17 7 7 1 2 17 .500
Rapid City Rush 16 7 6 2 1 17 .531
Wichita Thunder 14 5 5 3 1 14 .500
Allen Americans 16 4 10 0 2 10 .313

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush meet again on Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:05 p.m. from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. MT on 1350-AM KTIK and ECHL TV.

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