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PREVIEW: Game #21 – Steelheads vs. Icemen

Friday, November 30th
PREVIEW: Game #21 – Steelheads vs. Icemen

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (9-8-3) VS. JACKSONVILLE ICEMEN (13-6-0)

FRIDAY, NOV. 30, 2018 | 7:10 PMCENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | TV: CABLEONE CH. 72 | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads open a nine-game home stand with the first franchise meeting against the Jacksonville Icemen from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: This is the first meeting between the Steelheads and Icemen in franchise history between both Jacksonville and Evansville. The meeting is also the first against Eastern Conference opponents this year while opening a two-game weekend set. Last season, the Steelheads went 3-2-0-0 against teams in the South Division, winning two of two against South Carolina, splitting two meetings with Norfolk, and falling to Atlanta.

Last Game: The Steelheads had a near perfect result in a 6-0 win over the Rapid City Rush on Saturday night from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Steelheads forwards Kyle Schempp (PP, 8:23 1st) and Alex Dahl (PP, 11:05 1st) opened a perfect power play night with two goals to open a 2-0 lead. Forward A.J. White (18:16 1st) followed up to take a 3-0 lead into the 2nd period. Schempp (PP, 16:22 2nd) and defenseman Nolan Gluchowski (PP, 6:10 3rd) scored the next two power play goals, spreading the lead to 5-0. Forward Kale Kessy (13:27 3rd) tabbed the final goal in the 6-0 win. Tomas Sholl (4-3-0) halted all 41 shots faced, while Michael Bitzer (3-3-0) saved 21 of 27 shots in the loss.

Trending Up: Thanks to their win on Saturday, the Steelheads continue their upward trend closing out November. After dropping six of their first seven games to open November, the Steelheads have now earned wins in four of five games with only two of those wins coming with a one-goal differential. Despite the early losses, the Steelheads now have points in seven of their last nine contests, posting a 5-2-1-1 record during that stretch that included six coming at CenturyLink Arena (3-1-1-1 record). The Steelheads now have nine-straight games at home over their next four weeks and own a 4-2-1-1 record at home this season.

Enter Sandman: For the second time in three days, the Steelheads earned a shutout against the Rush to help get wins in two of three games. Goaltender Tomas Sholl has been in net for both of those shutouts while moving himself up the Steelheads all-time ranks. With his sixth shutout, he slides into sole possession of 2nd all-time in Steelheads ECHL shutouts and sits four back of Steve Silverthorn (10). Through just 18 games, in his Steelheads career, Sholl boasts a 13-3-2 record with a 1.54 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage with six shutouts. This season, he leads the team in wins (4), goals-against average (2.05) and save percentage (.932).

Special Perfection: For the first time this season, the Steelheads remained perfect on both sides of special teams, notching a 4-for-4 conversion on the power play and penalty kill. This is the fifth time among four teams in the ECHL where a team has accomplished this feat and just the second time with multiple chances on the power play (Adirondack: 2-for-2 PP, 4-for-4 PK). However, no team has converted all special teams chances with four attempts or more this season. With their day, the Steelheads improved by just under five percentage points on the power play from 15.5% to 20.0% and vaulted from a share of 16th to a share of fourth in power play attempts.

Ice Sliders: The Jacksonville Icemen have also moved upward in their recent trend over the last few weeks to close November. Like the Steelheads, the Icemen have won four of their last five games and six of eight games since November 12. Five of those eight games were against teams outside the current playoff picture, however they won all three games against higher-ranked teams (Newfoundland, Norfolk, Florida). Tonight will be Jacksonville’s sixth road game of the season after starting the season with 14 of 19 games at home. The Icemen are 2-3-0-0 on the road so far with losses in three of four games.

Old But New: Icemen forward Kris Newbury has been the catalyst for this year’s team in his first full season in the ECHL. The 36-year-old forward played seven combined ECHL games before this season with six games as part of the Pensacola Ice Pilots during the 2004-05 season and one more with the Reading Royals in 2016-17. His 16-year professional career led him to 76 NHL games between four teams (TOR, DET, NYR, PHI), 826 games in the AHL with 582 points (199g, 383a) and 1,839 PIMs, and 45 games last season in the DEL with the Fischtown Pinguins, where he led the league in penalty minutes (124). Newbury leads the Icemen in assists (15) and scoring (19) and owns 28 points (7g, 21a) through 23 career ECHL games.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 18 12 2 3 1 28 .778
Tulsa Oilers 18 12 2 2 2 28 .778
Kansas City Mavericks 16 11 4 1 0 23 .719
Idaho Steelheads 20 9 8 1 2 21 .525
Rapid City Rush 20 9 8 2 1 21 .525
Wichita Thunder 18 6 8 3 1 16 .444
Allen Americans 18 4 12 0 2 10 .250

Next Game: The Steelheads prepare to let the bears fly on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:10 p.m. from CenturyLink Arena against the Icemen for the annual Teddy Bear Toss For Tots. 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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