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PREVIEW: Division Semifinal Game #3 – Steelheads @ Grizzlies

Wednesday, April 17th
PREVIEW: Division Semifinal Game #3 – Steelheads @ Grizzlies

MOUNTAIN DIVISION SEMIFINAL:IDAHO STEELHEADS @ UTAH GRIZZLIESSeries tied 1-1

WEDNESDAY, APR. 17, 2019 | 7:05 P.M. MTMAVERIK CENTER | WEST VALLEY CITY, UTRADIO: 1350 AM KTIK |STREAM: ECHL TV | WATCH PARTY: SPORTS ZONE

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads head into Game 3 of the Mountain Division Semifinal against the Utah Grizzlies from Maverik Center in the 2019 U.S. Bank Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by SmileDirectClub.

Head-To-Head: This is the third postseason meeting between the Steelheads and Grizzlies in the ECHL era, with their last meeting coming in the 2015 Pacific Division Semifinals when the Grizzlies took the series 4-2. Their first meeting was in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinal, and the Steelheads swept the series 4-0 en route to a Kelly Cup Final appearance. The Steelheads are 76-57-17 all-time in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 16-13 series record, while the Grizzlies are 47-63-16 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 10-18 series record. In the regular season, the Grizzlies took the series with nine wins in 15 games, slotting the Steelheads with a 6-8-1 record while going 4-3-0 at CenturyLink Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads leveled the series with a 3-2 overtime win over the Grizzlies on Saturday night from CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward Kale Kessy (PP, 5:53 1st) opened the scoring for the home side before Grizzlies forward Mike Economos (9:13 2nd) forced a level score at 1-1. The Grizzlies jumped ahead, 2-1, on a tally from forward Caleb Herbert (PP, 4:26 2nd) to end the frame. Steelheads forward Henrik Samuelsson (10:36 3rd) tied the game, 2-2, and forced overtime. In the extra period, Kessy (7:56 OT) netted the game-winner in the 3-2 victory. Tomas Sholl (1-1-0) turned aside 35 of 37 shots in the win, while Kevin Carr (1-0-1) saved 43 of 46 shots in the loss.

Bonus Hockey: The Steelheads won the ECHL’s third overtime game in the 2019 playoffs have had recent success in overtime games in the postseason. The Steelheads have now won three-straight overtime games against the Grizzlies with the most recent on Apr. 18, 2015 at Maverik Center (5-4 OTW) while breaking a five-game losing skid in that span. The Steelheads are now 19-17 (.528) in playoff overtime games in the ECHL era. The Grizzlies, however, have lost 12-straight overtime games in the playoffs since their last win on Apr. 15, 2009 against Alaska (3-2 OTW) and are now 8-16 (.333) in their ECHL playoff history. The Steelheads hold the longest playoff game in ECHL history, spanning 137:19 minutes in a 3-2 4OT win over the Colorado Eagles on Apr. 28, 2014 at CenturyLink Arena.

High-Octane Offense: The Steelheads are creating numerous chances through just two games in the 2019 playoffs, which is more of a turnaround from their season series with Utah rather than their late-season trend. The Steelheads only outshot the Grizzlies in four of their 15 regular season games but have now done so in five of their last six games since February 9, averaging 34.50 shots in that span compared to 27.40 shots per game in the regular season. Recently, the Steelheads have posted 35 shots or more in six of their last eight total games since March 27, posting 38.63 shots per game and over 40 shots in three of those contests.

The Power of Kale: Steelheads forward Kale Kessy once again came to be an impact player in Saturday’s win without taking a penalty minute. Thanks to two goals scored, the Shaunovan, Sask. native has points in five-straight games since his return from the AHL, tallying nine points (3g, 6a) while also earning points in nine of his last 11 games (6-8–14) since January 16. He leads the Steelheads in scoring in the 2019 playoffs and is one of two players with points in both games, joining linemate A.J. White (1-1–2). Kessy also owns the lone power play goal of the series for the Steelheads in seven chances.

Home Cooked: The Utah Grizzlies head back to Maverik Center, where in recent postseasons the opposition has had better performances. The Grizzlies have lost six-straight playoff home games since Apr. 23, 2016, their last win in a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles. That streak includes three losses to the Allen Americans (2017), two to the Fort Wayne Komets (2016) and one to the Eagles (2016). The Grizzlies are 14-21-5 at Maverik Center since 2008.

Powered Up: Grizzlies forward Caleb Herbert netted power play goals in back-to-back games at the same time in each game (4:26 of the 2nd period), continuing to be a threat on special teams dating back to the regular season. The Bloomington, Minn. product has the lone two power play goals for the Grizzlies and netted his first two postseason special teams goals dating back to the 2015 and 2016 playoffs with South Carolina. He dominated the power play prior to the playoffs, netting 12 power play goals and 29 power play points to lead the Grizzlies in all power play scoring categories. Herbert has power play goals in six of his last seven tallies since March 1.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION SEMIFINALS:

#2 Idaho Steelheads vs. #3 Utah GrizzliesGame 1: Friday, Apr. 12 – UTA wins 7-1Game 2: Saturday, Apr. 13 – IDH wins 3-2 (OT)Game 3: Wednesday, Apr. 17 – Maverik Center • West Valley City, UTGame 4: Friday, Apr. 19 – Maverik Center • West Valley City, UT*Game 5: Saturday, Apr. 20 – Maverik Center • West Valley City, UT*Game 6: Monday, Apr. 22 – CenturyLink Arena • Boise, ID*Game 7: Tuesday, Apr. 23 – CenturyLink Arena • Boise, ID(*if necessary)

#1 Tulsa Oilers vs. #4 Kansas City MavericksGame 1: Thursday, Apr. 11 – KC wins 6-4Game 2: Sunday, Apr. 14 – TUL wins 3-2 (OT)Game 3: Wednesday, Apr. 17 – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena • Independence, MOGame 4: Friday, Apr. 19 – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena • Independence, MO*Game 5: Saturday, Apr. 20 – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena • Independence, MO*Game 6: Tuesday, Apr. 23 – BOK Center • Tulsa, OK*Game 7: Wednesday, Apr. 24 – BOK Center • Tulsa, OK(*if necessary)

Next Game: Game 4 of the Mountain Division Semifinals between the Steelheads and Grizzlies begins on Friday, Apr. 19 at 7:05 p.m. from Maverik Center. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.TV. Fans can join the Steelheads Official Watch Party at the Sports Zone, located on the 3rd floor of CenturyLink Arena, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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