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PREVIEW: Game #38 – Steelheads vs. Americans

Wednesday, January 16th
PREVIEW: Game #38 – Steelheads vs. Americans

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (23-11-3) VS. ALLEN AMERICANS (12-27-2)

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16, 2019 | 7:10 P.M.CENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDRADIO: 1350AM KTIK | TV: CABLEONE CH. 72 | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads welcome the Allen Americans to CenturyLink Arena for the first time this season and open a three-game weekend.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Americans will play their entire six-game series in a three-week span with the second half beginning at the end of January. Last season, the Steelheads played the Americans 10 times with six of those games at home, splitting their series with a 5-3-1-1 record before meeting in the Mountain Division Semifinals, featuring a reverse sweep by the Steelheads. Since their franchise series began, the Steelheads own a 10-5-3 record over the Americans.

Last Game: The Steelheads closed their three-game weekend with a 5-3 win from CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward Robbie Payne (6:17 1st) opened the scoring before two Walleye answers gave the road side the lead. The Steelheads bounced back with two goals, one from forward Reid Petryk (14:31 1st) and another from defenseman Nolan Gluchowski (1:51 2nd) to take back the lead, 3-2. After a tying goal by the Walleye, Steelheads defenseman Ondrej Vala (PP, 14:59 3rd) scored the game-winning goal, and forward Spencer Naas (EN, 18:42 3rd) sealed the 5-3 victory. Colton Point (3-2-1) stopped 34 of 37 shots in the win.

Muy Caliente: The Steelheads expanded their impressive run over the last two months last week with a trio of wins against the Toledo Walleye, marking the third three-game sweep of the season and second in a three-week span. The win makes it eight in their last nine games since December 22 and spanning the last two months up to 18 wins in 22 contests since November 16. The Steelheads own a 18-4-0-0 record in that time with only two results in overtime and have ballooned from two games under .500 to a season-best 12 games over .500 as well as cutting up from fifth in the Mountain Division into a battle for first place.

Potent Potables: The Steelheads have been scoring more goals at a higher consistency compared to the start of the season during their most recent run of positive production. The team scored four goals or more in all three games last week as well as in eight of their last nine contests since December 22, averaging 5.75 goals per game and scoring five or more goals four times. In the team’s first nine games, they averaged 2.78 goals per game but also were held to three goals or less in six of those nine contests. The Steelheads are in the top-10 in scoring average with 3.38 goals per game (7th ECHL).

Positive Charge: The Steelheads have been excelling in 5-on-5 play this season, and lately defensemen Keegan Kanzig and Jeff King have been big proponents by the numbers. Last weekend, the pair each increased their plus/minus rating by at least five with Kanzig (+6) leading King (+5) in that area. The pair have been leading Steelheads defensemen since the end of their last home stand, led by Kanzig’s +14 rating in his last nine games alone followed by King’s +10 rating in that same frame. For Kanzig, it’s his second-straight year with a positive influence of at least a +20 rating, and in his career he owns a +54 rating in three seasons. King has had a +16 rating since joining the Steelheads early in the season and is having a career season across the board. Kanzig also sits fourth in the ECHL in plus/minus rating.

Bad Blood: The Steelheads and Americans meet for the first time since the 2018 Mountain Division Semifinals where the Steelheads overcame a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 and advance to play the Colorado Eagles. The Steelheads were the second team in ECHL history to overcome that deficit in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, joining the 2010 Cincinnati Cyclones, who overcame a 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference Final against the Reading Royals to face and defeat the Steelheads in the 2010 Kelly Cup Final. The final two games were played at CenturyLink Arena, which is where this year’s season series re-convenes. While the Steelheads have eight players on the active roster from last season, the Americans have 10 players from last season.

The Pocher: Americans forward Zach Pochiro has found his stride this season and already just past halfway through the year is already on a career run. Last week, the 24-year-old recorded his first hat-trick of his ECHL career with a four-goal night while recording points in all three games against the Wichita Thunder, leading with seven points (5g, 2a). The former St. Louis Blues draft pick has set a career-high in goals and is one point from tying his career-high point total from one season ago, boasting 40 points (22g, 18a) through 26 games this season.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 37 23 11 1 2 49 .662
Tulsa Oilers  39 21 12 4 2 48 .615
Utah Grizzlies 35 22 9 3 1 48 .686
Kansas City Mavericks 36 19 15 1 1 40 .556
Wichita Thunder 40 15 17 5 3 38 .475
Rapid City Rush 40 15 20 2 3 35 .438
Allen Americans 41 12 27 0 2 26 .317

Next Game: The Steelheads and Americans continue their weekend set on Friday, Jan. 18 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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