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PREVIEW: Game #31 – Steelheads @ Rush

Saturday, December 29th
PREVIEW: Game #31 – Steelheads @ Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (17-10-3) VS. RAPID CITY RUSH (14-14-5)

SATURDAY, DEC. 29, 2018 | 7:05 PMRUSHMORE PLAZA CIVIC CENTER | RAPID CITY, SDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads continue their three-game weekend with the second contest against the Rapid City Rush from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have now won consecutive games for the second time in the series, expanding their lead to a 5-1-1 record while going 3-1-0 at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and outscoring the Rush 19-5 in their last four games. Monday’s game will be the midway game of their 17-game season schedule, and the Steelheads have now 31-11-3 overall against the Rush in their franchise series with wins in 16 of their last 20 games.

Last Night: The Steelheads throttled the Rush in a 9-1 win from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Steelheads forward A.J. White (4:15 1st) opened the scoring early to take an initial 1-0 lead before forward Tony Calderone (PP, 12:05 1st) doubled the advantage, 2-0. Steelheads defenseman Jeff King (5:07 2nd) added his own tally on a breakaway, and forward Kale Kessy (8:38 2nd) was returned the favor of an earlier assist to quadruple the lead to 4-0. Rush forward Garrett Klotz (PP, 12:23 2nd) got the lone home goal on the board just 11 seconds before Calderone (12:34 2nd) scored his second, taking a 5-1 lead. The Steelheads scored four more unanswered goals from forward Mitch Moroz (PP, 19:06 2nd), forward Brad McClure (8:12 3rd), Kessy (PP, 10:30 3rd) and forward Reid Petryk (SH, 15:33 3rd) to take away the 9-1 win. Tomas Sholl (10-4-0) halted 28 of 29 shots in the win. Adam Carlson (10-6-4) stopped 10 of 15 shots in the loss, and Tyler Parks saved eight of 12 shots in relief.

Pouring It On: The Steelheads had their best offensive game of the season, scoring nine goals to eclipse their previous season-high for the second-straight season. The total is the most since the team scored eight goals on Feb. 17, 2017 against Utah (8-2 W), which was the second time that year they posted eight goals against Utah, and sits three goals below their ECHL record for single-game goals set back on Feb. 8, 2005 against the Victoria Salmon Kings in a 12-goal effort. The nine-goal night is the second time a team has posted that total this season, joining Cincinnati on November 13 against Greenville (9-0 W). The Steelheads’ four-goal second period is also the third time the team has reached that mark in a period this year (Oct. 19 vs. UTA, 6-5 OTW; Oct. 30 @ IND, 5-3 W).

High Praise: Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl played in his 25th game with the team and earned his 10th win of the season. That game officially placed him among some of the best goaltenders in Steelheads ECHL history by the numbers. His career 1.68 goals-against average moves him above Jack Campbell (1.70) for the best all-time, and his .942 career save percentage is second behind Campbell’s mark (.944). Both marks are judged with a minimum of 25 games played. Sholl already has the second-most shutouts (six), and this season he owns a 10-4-0 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

Overpowered Forward: Steelheads forward Kale Kessy has had an impressive offensive month so far following his five-point night against the Rush. His five points is the most for a single game this season, surpassing the previous-high of three points set four different times, and his three-assist night breaks a 19-way tie for the most in a single game previously set at two assists. With his strong effort, Kessy moves into the team lead in assists and scoring for December with 14 points (4g, 10a) and is one of two players with double-digit points in the month (Reid Petryk, 7+5=12). Kessy is tied for the team lead in assists this season and moves into fourth in scoring with 21 points (6g, 15a) while leading the ECHL in penalty minutes (165). He is on pace to set career-highs in points (31) and penalty minutes (239), both of which were set last season in Tulsa.

Panning For Gold: The Rapid City Rush have struggled to get offensive production going recently while opponents have been feasting on goals. Since their five-game point streak from November 28 to December 5, the Rush own a 3-6-0 record in nine games while being outscored 30-13 and averaging only 1.44 goals per game while reaching at least three goals in a game twice in that span (Dec. 12 @ UTA, 3-1 W; Dec. 21 vs. WIC, 4-3 SOW). Prior to this spell, the Rush had at least three goals in four of five games during their point streak and owned a 3-0-0-2 record.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 30 17 10 1 2 37 .617
Utah Grizzlies 27 16 7 3 1 36 .667
Kansas City Mavericks 28 16 10 1 1 34 .607
Tulsa Oilers 31 14 11 4 2 34 .548
Wichita Thunder 31 14 11 3 3 34 .548
Rapid City Rush 33 14 14 2 3 33 .500
Allen Americans 33 7 24 0 2 16 .242

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush close the 2018 calendar year on New Year's Eve, Monday, Dec. 31, 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 as well as at 7:00 p.m. on CableOne Channel 72.

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