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PREVIEW: Game #20 – Steelheads @ Rush

Saturday, November 24th
PREVIEW: Game #20 – Steelheads @ Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (8-8-3) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (8-7-3)

SATURDAY, NOV. 24, 2018 | 7:05 PMRUSHMORE PLAZA CIVIC CENTER | RAPID CITY, SDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads finish their six-game stretch against the Rapid City Rush from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads dropped their three-game win streak and four-game point streak against the Rush but still hold the series lead with a 3-1-0-1 record heading into their sixth game in two weeks. The Steelheads and Rush play 17 games this season and three more in December in Rapid City. The Steelheads have still won 14 of 18 games against the Rush over the last two seasons and boast a 29-11-3 overall record in the franchise series.

Last Night: The Steelheads fell behind early in a 4-1 loss to the Rush on Friday night from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Rush forward Andrew Radjenovic (3:38 1st) and defenseman Josh Elmes (PP, 9:05 1st) found the back of the net first to take an early 2-0 lead. Through a physical second period, Radjenovic (SH, 5:40 2nd) added another goal to triple the lead, 3-0. Rush forward Quintin Lisoway (0:58 3rd) spread the lead to 4-0 before Steelheads forward Reid Petryk (PP, 5:51 3rd) found an answer, but the Rush took home the 4-1 win. Adam Carlson (5-3-2) stopped 32 of 33 shots in the win, while Tomas Sholl (3-3-0) halted 34 of 38 shots in the loss.

End Of Run: The Steelheads snapped their three-game win streak and five-game point streak during their loss on Friday night, but the stretch continued to show the growth of the program. In the point run, the Steelheads held opponents to three goals or less in four of five games while averaging 38.60 shots per game and converting three times on the power play. In addition, the team rose from below .500 to one game over that mark while keeping the Mountain Division race close and sliding into fourth place with some separation with the bottom two teams.

Black (& Blue) Friday: The Steelheads and Rush played their most physical game head-to-head this season on Friday night with all the aggression coming in the second period. The Steelheads and Rush combined for 92 penalty minutes over the game and 82 minutes combined in the second period alone. The Steelheads accounted for 34 minutes in that period, which was helped by four fights and one misconduct, and 42 penalty minutes during the game. All of the above minutes are season-highs for the Steelheads. Previously, their highest penalty minute marks were set with the Rush on Wednesday, bringing the weekend total to 158 total penalty minutes in two games. The Steelheads have accounted for 70 minutes (44.30%) in that week total.

Early Pressure: Friday’s early results were a stark contrast to the pressure the Steelheads have developed over the last three weeks early in games. It was the first time since November 9 (five games) that the team conceded the game’s opening goal, and they’ve still done so in six of their last eight games since the start of their six-game home stand on November 7. Including last night’s loss, the Steelheads are outscoring their opponents 10-7 in the first period over their last eight games though they still hold a minus-eight goal differential overall for the season. The Steelheads are 5-1-1-1 when scoring the opening goal.

King Of Assists: Steelheads defenseman Jeff King has assists in two-straight games, but his contributions are trending him in a career direction. Both assists have come on the power play, and now three of his seven assists have helped to notch power play tallies, now leading the active roster in power play assists. With seven assists, the St. Clair, Mich., native is one assist shy of tying his career-high set last season (eight) between Orlando and Brampton, and his eight points is five points shy of his career-high (13). King totaled 13 points (5g, 8a) through 57 games last season, while he owns eight points (1g, 7a) through 16 games with the Steelheads, sitting tied for second on the team in assists.

Out Of The Ordinary: For just the sixth time this season, the Rush scored the opening goal and put up an impressive start to last night’s game. The two goals scored last night in the first period accounts for 20.00% of the team’s first period tallies (10), and their season total is still third from the bottom in the ECHL ahead of Worcester (8), Atlanta (9) and Wheeling (9). However, their -11 goal differential still the league’s lowest mark, and their 21 goals against only trail the Steelheads (22 goals) for the most in the league in the first period. The Rush combine for a -16 goal differential in the first two periods but own a +7 differential in the third period, which is second-best in the ECHL behind Cincinnati (+16).

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 16 12 2 3 0 25 .781
Kansas City Mavericks 14 12 2 1 0 23 .821
Tulsa Oilers 15 9 2 2 2 22 .733
Idaho Steelheads 19 8 8 1 2 19 .500
Rapid City Rush 18 8 7 2 1 19 .528
Wichita Thunder 16 5 7 3 1 14 .438
Allen Americans 18 4 12 0 2 10 .278

Next Game: The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:10 p.m. to host the Jacksonville Icemen and open a two-game series. Tickets are available by calling 208-383-0080 or going to IdahoSteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. MT on 1350-AM KTIK and ECHL TV as well as at 7:00 p.m. on CableOne Channel 72.

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