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PREVIEW: Game #37 – Steelheads vs. Walleye

Saturday, January 12th
PREVIEW: Game #37 – Steelheads vs. Walleye

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (22-11-3) VS. TOLEDO WALLEYE (23-9-4)

SATURDAY, JAN. 12, 2019 | 7:10 P.M.CENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | TV: CABLEONE CH. 72 | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads close their three-game weekend and season series against the Toledo Walleye from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have won back-to-back games against the Walleye now with an opportunity to win the season series by leveling the set 2-2 in last night’s contest. It’s the second time in three franchise series that the Steelheads have won consecutive games, and two of the four games this season have been separated by one goal. The Steelheads are 4-2-0 against teams from Toledo in their ECHL franchise series.

Last Night: The Steelheads outlasted the Walleye in a 4-3 shootout win on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. Walleye defenseman Matt Register (16:03 1st) opened the scoring with the lone goal of the opening period. The Steelheads came back with three-unanswered goals starting with a rebound goal by forward Elgin Pearce (5:06 2nd) and followed by a singular takeaway goal by forward Kyle Schempp (7:44 2nd) as well as another tally by forward Spencer Naas (16:39 2nd) in the slot, taking and spreading the lead to 3-1. The Walleye chipped away at the lead thanks to forwards A.J. Jenks (PP, 19:40 2nd) and Hunter Smith (4:30 3rd), sending the game to overtime at 3-3. In the shootout, Steelheads defenseman Brady Norrish (1st Round) and Jenks (2nd Round) forced extra shots, and Steelheads forward Steve McParland (5th Round) secured the 4-3 win with the final goal. Tomas Sholl (14-4-0) halted 27 of 30 shots in the win, while Kaden Fulcher (10-3-3) saved 33 of 36 shots in the shootout loss.

Halfway Home: The Steelheads reached the midway game of the 2018-19 season, finishing the first half of the year 11 games over .500 and sitting second in the Mountain Division. The Steelheads closed the second quarter with a 14-4-0-0 record and 28 points, leaping over their first quarter total thanks to a 9-2-0-0 record in December and 3-1-0-0 in January so far. At this time last year, the Steelheads were at nearly the same record (21-10-5) with the same number of points and tied for second place. In fact, the Steelheads have had nearly an identical record in their last three seasons, including 2016-17 (21-11-4, 46pts, T-1st).

That Extra Effort: In their first post-regulation game since December 1 and first shootout game since November 10, the Steelheads came out on top in the skills competition. The win is their first in the shootout since October 14 against the Tulsa Oilers, marking their second shootout win of the year now in four chances. However, the Steelheads have done well after regulation overall, winning three-straight games since November 17 and improving to 6-3 on the year. That places the Steelheads second in post-regulation points (15) behind Rapid City (19), however the team is now tied for eighth with the best post-regulation record in the ECHL (.667).

Killing ‘Em Off: Despite conceding a power play goal last night, the Steelheads still posted a valiant effort against the Walleye, killing off nine of 10 attempts. This total included being forced to kill three 5-on-3 power plays for Toledo, and they managed to kill two of those three attempts. The kill total is their first double-digit total this season, eclipsing their eight-kill night on December 22 against the Utah Grizzlies (6-for-8). The Steelheads still improved their penalty kill percentage after last night, jumping to the top spot in the ECHL with a 86.4% conversion rate.

Mr. Wonder: Steelheads forward Steve McParland has been a difference maker since returning to the Steelheads from the AHL, continuing his strong impact throughout his Idaho career. With his assist last night, he now has points in three of four games (2+2=4), which doesn’t include the game-winning shootout goal in last night’s win. The Schreiber, Ont., native will play his 100th game with the Steelheads in his next appearance, and through his previous 99 games he owns 83 points (43g, 40a). He’s currently on pace to average nearly the same number of points as last season (31+26=57).

Slippery Scales: The Toledo Walleye have been in a bit of a rut as of late, and last night’s loss extended that trend. The shootout loss was their first of the season in four total attempts but gives the Walleye their first three-game losing skid of the season. The team has also dropped five of their last seven contests since December 30, going 2-3-2 in that stretch while being held to two goals or less in half of their contests and only scoring more than three goals once (January 3 vs. Wheeling, 6-2 W). The Walleye still maintain their spot at second place in the Western Conference, but the rest of the conference has now caught the Walleye with the Utah Grizzlies just two points behind and the Steelheads at three points.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 34 22 8 3 1 48 .706
Idaho Steelheads 36 22 11 1 2 47 .653
Tulsa Oilers 38 20 12 4 2 46 .605
Kansas City Mavericks 35 19 14 1 1 40 .571
Wichita Thunder 38 15 15 5 3 38 .500
Rapid City Rush 39 15 19 2 3 35 .449
Allen Americans 39 10 27 0 2 22 .282

Next Game: The Steelheads host the Allen Americans for the first time this season on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7:10 p.m. from CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling 208-383-0080 or by going to idahosteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 1350AM KITK and at 7:00 p.m. on CableOne Ch. 72 and ECHL TV.

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