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PREVIEW: Game #69 – Steelheads vs. Rush

Saturday, March 30th
PREVIEW: Game #69 – Steelheads vs. Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (40-23-5) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (28-32-9)

SATURDAY, MAR. 30, 2019 | 7:10 P.M. MTCENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDRADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | TV: CABLE ONE CH. 72 | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads close their season series with the Rapid City Rush in the final Saturday home game of the regular season at CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Rush have played in seven one-goal games at CenturyLink Arena in eight attempts, and for the fourth time in eight meetings in Boise the two sides went to post-regulation play. However, the Steelheads have controlled the season series, owning a 12-2-2 record heading into the final game of their 17-game schedule. Overall, the Steelheads are 38-12-4 against the Rush in their franchise series and hold wins in 23 of 29 games over the last two seasons.

Last Night: The Steelheads took a dramatic 4-3 shootout win over the Rush on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. Rush forward Tyler Poulsen (3:52 1st) opened the scoring to give the road side a 1-0 lead before the Steelheads came back in the second period. Steelheads forward Spencer (0:42 2nd) started the run followed by defenseman Ondrej Vala (6:03 2nd) and forward Elgin Pearce (12:06 2nd) to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The Rush battled back with goals from forward Cedric Montminy (3:24 3rd) and defenseman Dylan Quaile (EA, 17:46 3rd) to send the game into overtime, 3-3. In the shootout, Steelheads forwards Steve McParland (1st Round) and Henrik Samuelsson (3rd Round) propelled the home side to the 4-3 win. Tomas Sholl (25-12-0) halted 29 of 32 shots in the win, while Adam Carlson (20-16-6) stopped 35 of 38 shots in the loss.

Good Lordy, 40: With their win last night, the Steelheads reached the 40-win plateau for the 12th time over their last 16 seasons and third in four years under Head Coach Neil Graham. The Steelheads are the fourth team in the ECHL this season to reach 40 wins and simultaneously the fourth team to at least 85 points, joining the other three division leaders (Cincinnati, Florida, Newfoundland). While the team cannot reach last season’s 96 points with four games remaining, they can reach 44 wins with wins in all four remaining games and will surpass the 2015-16 season total of 86 points with a win in any of their final regular season games.

Western Standoff: The Steelheads entered just their fifth shootout scenario of the season and first since January 12 against Toledo, taking their second-straight attempt with the game-winner scored by forward Steve McParland. The result marks the 16th time this season that the Steelheads have gone into post-regulation play, getting wins in 11 of those 16 games (68.8%) with three wins in five attempts in the shootout. Officially, the Steelheads are 11-5 in post-regulation games this season, and as a team the Steelheads have stopped 13 of 17 shots (.765) with Tomas Sholl going 2-0 with 6-of-7 saved (.857). Steve McParland (2-for-3, 2 GDG), Brady Norrish (2-for-3, 1 GDG) and Henrik Samuelsson (1-for-1) now have the lone shootout goals on the season.

Model Citizen: Steelheads forward Elgin Pearce posted another multi-point game in last night’s win, officially reaching another three-game point streak with four points (2g, 2a). The Port Coquitlam, B.C. native his on his third point streak over his last 14 games, getting points in seven of his last eight games with 10 points (7g, 3a) in that span. He also leads the Steelheads both in goals and points since February 15, boasting points in 14 of his last 18 games and tallying an impressive 19 points (10g, 9a) in a surge leading into the final weekends of the season. On the year, Pearce now sits fourth on the team in goals (18), only trailing Steve McParland (25), Brad McClure (19) and Reid Petryk (19) and has risen to fifth on the active roster in points (38).

On The Brink: The Rapid City Rush are on the brink of elimination from the playoff hunt but are hanging on by a thread. With one point earned last night, they remain four points back of the Kansas City Mavericks for fourth place, however the point dropped slips them to just two points away from elimination. If the Mavericks win in any fashion, the Rush lose in regulation, or both the Mavericks and Rush lose in post-regulation, the Rush will be out of playoff contention heading into their final weekend of the season, also against the Mavericks. Despite their grim outlook, this is the best season the Rush have had since their first ECHL year in 2014-15, tying their point total from 2015-16 and sitting just one win short of that year’s total (29). The team went 37-28-2-5 in their first ECHL season in 2014-15, making it to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 68 40 23 3 2 85 .625
Tulsa Oilers 66 38 22 4 2 82 .621
Utah Grizzlies 67 35 24 4 4 78 .582
Kansas City Mavericks 67 32 30 3 2 69 .515
Rapid City Rush 69 28 32 5 4 65 .471
Wichita Thunder 67 26 30 8 3 63 .470
Allen Americans 69 24 39 4 2 54 .391

Next Game: The Steelheads close the home schedule of the 2018-19 regular season against the Utah Grizzlies on Friday, Apr. 5 at 7:10 p.m. from CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling 208-383-0080 or going to idahosteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and at 7:00 p.m. on Cable One Ch. 72 and ECHL.TV.

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