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PREVIEW: Game #64 – Steelheads @ Solar Bears

Tuesday, March 19th
PREVIEW: Game #64 – Steelheads @ Solar Bears

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (36-22-5) @ ORLANDO SOLAR BEARS (34-22-5)

TUESDAY, MAR. 19, 2019 | 5:00 P.M. MTAMWAY CENTER | ORLANDO, FLRADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads finish their three-game season series against the Orlando Solar Bears back at Amway Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads won their first game in three attempts against the Solar Bears in their franchise history heading into the rubber match of this year’s series. However, both losses came at Amway Center while the lone win was away from their main home facility. The Steelheads have played nine games so far against South Division opponents over the last two seasons, winning six of nine games with a 6-3-0-0 record including wins in three of four games this season.

Last Game: The Steelheads utilized strong special teams play in a 4-1 win over the Solar Bears on Sunday evening from RDV Sportsplex Ice Den. Steelheads forward Henrik Samuelsson (4:33 1st) notched the lone even-strength goal for the Steelheads to jump ahead 1-0. The first of two shorthanded goals on the evening was scored by Steelheads forward Will Merchant (SH, 10:38 1st) before the lone Solar Bears goal by defenseman Cody Donaghey (13:34 1st) brought the lead back to one, 2-1. Steelheads forward Elgin Pearce (SH, 5:49 2nd) added the second shorthanded tally, and forward Steve McParland (PP, 16:28 2nd) finished the scoring with his second power play goal of the weekend to secure the 4-1 win. Tomas Sholl (22-11-0) turned aside 36 of 37 shots in the win, and Connor Ingram (3-2-0) stopped 21 of 25 shots in the loss.

We’re In: Thanks to Sunday afternoon’s win, the Steelheads have clinched a postseason berth with nine games remaining, becoming one of four team across the ECHL to make the playoffs. This marks 22-straight years that the Steelheads have seen postseason play, continuing the longest active playoff streak both in professional hockey and tied for the longest in North American professional sports, currently sharing their run with the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) barring a missed postseason this year. The Steelheads also set an ECHL record for consecutive postseason berths at 16-straight seasons. Now, the Steelheads hunt for their first division title since 2014-15 and third in ECHL franchise history.

Lovin’ Shawty: For the first time this season, the Steelheads scored a pair of shorthanded goals in a game, and the first of those two also resulted in the game-winning goal. Previously, the Steelheads had nine games of one shorthanded goal scored so far this season, and the last time the squad posted a multi-shorthanded goal effort came on Nov. 1, 2014 when David de Kastrozza scored two shorthanded goals in the third period against the Stockton Thunder (8-3 W). The Steelheads now have 11 shorthanded goals on the season and three in March, sitting eighth in the ECHL for most shorthanded goals scored.

Mac Power: Steelheads forward Steve McParland now has back-to-back games with power play goals, helping both his own cause as well as the team’s with those tallies. The Schreiber, Ont., native owns his first back-to-back point game since February 9-13 at the end of a three-game goal streak, and it’s also his first back-to-back multi-power play goal effort since Nov. 11-15, 2017, which was also part of a three-game point streak. The goal gives the Steelheads power play tallies in four of their last five games (4-for-20, 20.0%) and increases McParland’s team-leading goal and point total to 23 goals and 49 points. He now sits 9th all-time for Steelheads ECHL career goals at 54, passing David de Kastrozza (‘11-’15) with the tally.

Hot Hand: Steelheads forward Elgin Pearce continues to be the most productive skater in the fourth quarter, extending his goal streak to three games with his shorthanded goal on Sunday. Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Port Coquitlam, B.C., product has nine points (5g, 4a) in nine games with points in seven of those contests, and he also is averaging a point-per-game since February 16, posting 13 points (7g, 6a) in his last 13 games with tallies in 10 of 13 contests (76.9%). Pearce is now fourth on the team in goals (15) and is now a point behind a share of the top-five in scoring on the roster, boasting 32 points (15g, 17a) in 49 games this season.

Bearing Down: The Solar Bears are in the midst of a five-game homestand with losses in two of three games, but they’re edging closer to a playoff berth as well. With 11 games remaining in their season, the Solar Bears have a magic number of five, meaning five points earned and/or lost by the South Carolina Stingrays. With a win tonight and a Stingrays loss to Kansas City, the Solar Bears can move to just one point from clinching a postseason berth and become the second team in the South Division to make the playoffs. Orlando has a five-game road trip and six total road games remaining following this five-game homestand and finish on the road in six of nine games.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Tulsa Oilers 63 36 21 4 2 78 .619
Idaho Steelheads 63 36 22 3 2 77 .611
Utah Grizzlies 63 33 22 4 4 74 .587
Kansas City Mavericks 61 32 24 3 2 69 .566
Rapid City Rush 65 27 30 5 3 62 .477
Wichita Thunder 63 24 29 7 3 58 .460
Allen Americans 66 23 37 4 2 52 .394

Next Game: The Steelheads open a five-game stretch against the Rapid City Rush on Friday, Mar. 22 at 7:05 p.m. from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 1350AM KITK and ECHL.TV.

Upcoming Home Games

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