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PREVIEW: Game #70 – Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

Friday, April 5th
PREVIEW: Game #70 – Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (40-24-5) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (35-25-9)

FRIDAY, APR. 5, 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 the 2018-19 home regular season schedule at CenturyLink Arena and open a three-game weekend against the Utah Grizzlies.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads dropped their last three meetings with the Grizzlies in early February, falling behind in the season series with five wins and seven losses. The Grizzlies can claim the season series outright with one win during their final three-game series of the regular season, and both overtime results have gone in Idaho’s favor (October 19 & 27). The Steelheads are 97-49-24 overall against the Grizzlies in the ECHL franchise series.

Last Game: The Steelheads closed their season set with a 3-1 loss from CenturyLink Arena. The Rush scored the opening tally thanks to defenseman Dylan Quaile (9:29 1st) to take a 1-0 lead. Steelheads forward Steve McParland (11:33 2nd) did find the lone answer for the home side to tie the game at 1-1. The Rush then scored two goals in the third period starting with forward Zach Fischer (11:36 3rd) followed by an insurance goal from forward Alex Rauter (EN, 18:46 3rd) to close the 3-1 result. Adam Carlson (21-16-6) halted 39 of 40 shots in the win, while Ryan Faragher (8-7-2) stopped 23 of 25 shots in the loss.

March Madness: The Steelheads closed March on a sour note but still are averaging over one point per game, posting a 7-5-1-0 record with 15 points through 13 games during the longest month of the season. While the Steelheads started the month slow, the team closed the month with wins in five of their last seven games, going 5-2-0 to improve on February’s total by one more win. The result was the third-best month in six attempts, trailing only December (9-2-0-0, 18 pts.) and January (8-4-0-0, 16 pts.) for wins and points. The Steelheads could finish with a maximum of 12 games in April but are guaranteed at least seven games.

Killswitch Engaged: The Steelheads penalty kill has rolled through their last two weeks against Rapid City, now staying perfect in five-straight games over their last 16 attempts. In addition, the team has been performing well throughout March, staying perfect in seven of nine games (25-for-27, 92.6%) since March 9 as well as nine of their 13 games in March (40-for-45, 88.9%). In that time, the Steelheads have risen to and stayed within the top-10 across the ECHL on the season, settling in at ninth in the league (84.1%) heading into their final weekend of the season.

Model Citizen: Steelheads forward Elgin Pearce was the shining example of consistency in March, leading the team in scoring with 13 points (7g, 6a) through 13 games played. In that time, the Port Coquitlam, B.C. native recorded points in nine of 13 games (69.2%) with four multi-point games and two different point streaks of three games or more, all the while leading the team in goals scored and just edging forward Steve McParland (6-6–12) for the team lead. Since February 27, Pearce has been averaging a point-per-game while leading the Steelheads in scoring, boasting 19 points (10-9–19) through his last 19 games.

Shollshank Redemption: Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl was awarded two different honors by the league this week, being named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday and All-ECHL Second Team on Thursday. The Hermosa Beach, Calif. native becomes the first goaltender to earn rookie and league honors since goaltender Richard Bachman in 2009-10 while following goaltender Landon Bow (2016-17) in rookie honors and forward Wade MacLeod (2014-15) for All-ECHL honors. On the season, Sholl leads the ECHL in save percentage (.928) while sitting third in goals-against average (2.26) and fourth in wins (25). He trails only NHL goaltender and alum Jack Campbell in career goals-against average (2.02) and save percentage (.933) and sits fifth all-time in goaltending wins (34).

Bottoming Out: The Utah Grizzlies have slid into the final weekend of the season since their last meeting with the Steelheads. After the Grizzlies swept the Steelheads on February 6-9, the Grizzlies have plummeted with a 5-12-0-4 record in their last 21 games, sliding from the top spot in the Mountain Division and a four-point lead down to a lock-in for third or fourth place in the division standings. In that stretch, the team has been shut out four different times, including in their last game on Sunday in Tulsa (6-0 L), while averaging 2.67 goals scored per game but allowing 3.52 goals per game and allowing four goals or more in 10 of those 21 contests (47.6%). The Grizzlies have lost four of their last five games and enter their final game of a season-long seven-game road trip with a 2-3-0-1 record.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Tulsa Oilers 69 40 23 4 2 86 .623
Idaho Steelheads 69 40 24 3 2 85 .616
Utah Grizzlies 69 35 30 4 5 79 .572
Kansas City Mavericks 70 35 30 3 2 75 .536
Rapid City Rush 70 29 32 5 4 67 .479
Wichita Thunder 69 26 31 9 3 64 .464
Allen Americans 70 25 39 4 2 56 .400

Next Game: The Steelheads head to Maverik Center to continue their weekend set with the Grizzlies on Saturday, Apr. 6 at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.TV.

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