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PREVIEW: Game #71 – Steelheads @ Grizzlies

Saturday, April 6th
PREVIEW: Game #71 – Steelheads @ Grizzlies

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (41-24-5) @ UTAH GRIZZLIES (35-26-9)

SATURDAY, APR. 6, 2019 | 7:05 P.M. MTMAVERIK CENTER | WEST VALLEY CITY, UTRADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | TSTREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads head to Maverik Center to continue their three-game weekend against the Utah Grizzlies.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads broke their three-game losing skid against the Grizzlies while finishing the home portion of the season series with a 4-3-0 record. The Steelheads are 6-7-0 this season against the Grizzlies with an opportunity to reach 100 all-time regular season wins as well as take the season series outright with a pair of wins this weekend. The Steelheads are 98-49-24 overall against the Grizzlies in the ECHL franchise series.

Last Night: The Steelheads finished the home regular season schedule with a 3-1 win over the Grizzlies on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. Grizzlies defenseman Kevin Davis (PP, 12:53 2nd) scored the lone tally for the road side to edge ahead, 1-0, before Steelheads forward A.J. White (PP, 18:57 2nd) leveled the scoreline before the end of the second period. The Steelheads added two more goals thanks to defenseman Jeff King (12:59 3rd) and forward Spencer Naas (EN, 19:12 3rd) to ensure the 3-1 victory. Tomas Sholl (26-11-0) halted 23 of 24 shots in the win. Kevin Carr saved 20 of 21 shots in 38:57 minutes, while Alex Leclerc (0-1-0) stopped 10 of 11 shots in 19:54 minutes of relief in the loss.

Home, Sweet Home: The Steelheads closed the 2018-19 home regular season schedule the same way they began: a win against the Utah Grizzlies. The Steelheads finish the regular season with a 23-9-3-1 record, tallying 50 of the team’s 87 points (57.5%) on the year while closing with, at minimum, a share of second-most home wins in the Mountain Division, only trailing Kansas City (24-10-1-1). Across the entire ECHL, the Steelheads will share the fifth-highest home win total by the end of the regular season, and the team can sit in the top-five for road wins as well with two more wins this weekend.

Keeping It Close: Last night’s win provided another instance of the Steelheads locking down defensively in a low-scoring game, marking the 11th time the Steelheads have won when scoring three goals while separately only allowing one goal. On the season, the Steelheads have played now in 45 games with either a one-goal or two-goal differential including four-straight games and five of their last six contests since March 22, and in that stretch the Steelheads are 3-2-0 in those tight games. The Steelheads are a combined 24-17-3-2 in games separated by two goals or less while also going 11-4-0-0 when scoring three goals in a game as well as 11-0-0-0 when holding opponents to just one goal.

The Power of Kale: Steelheads forward Kale Kessy returned to the lineup on Friday night after missing 16-straight games due to his AHL call-up, promptly adding two assists in his first game since February 20 against Tulsa. Since February 13, the Shaunovan, Sask. native has points in four of his last five games with five points (1g, 4a) while also earning seven points (3g, 4a) over his last seven games since January 16, which also dates prior to his suspension heading into February. Through 33 games with the Steelheads, Kessy owns 29 points (10g, 19a) with 285 penalty minutes, sitting third on the team with 0.88 points per game while leading the ECHL in penalty minutes.

Over The Hill: Steelheads captain A.J. White posted a two-point night on Friday, which helped breach the 50-point mark for the first time in his career and become the second player on this year’s roster to reach that plateau. Recently, the Dearborn, Mich. native has three multi-point games in his last four games with points since March 17 while boasting four points (2g, 2a) over his last four games. On the season, he leads the Steelheads in assists (35) and sits second overall in points (51) while also holding third in rating (+18). He’s already blown through all his career marks also set in 70 games last season, and with two games left White can also be one of just two skaters to play all 72 games in the regular season (Keegan Kanzig).

A Mixed Bag: In his return to the lineup after a four-game absence, Grizzlies forward Cole Ully picked up an assist while also earning helpers in back-to-back games since March 23. Despite missing 32 games this season due to injury, the Calgary, Alb. native has been one of the Grizzlies’ best scoring threats, averaging over one point-per-game at 41 points (14g, 27a) through 38 games. However, both he and forward Caleb Herbert have combined for just eight points (2g, 6a) over their last 10 games since March 24, which includes four missing games for Ully. As of late, Herbert is scoreless in five-straight games, and Ully has just two points in six games played. Herbert also leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 68 points (31g, 37a) in 58 games.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Tulsa Oilers 70 41 23 4 2 88 .629
Idaho Steelheads 70 41 24 3 2 87 .621
Utah Grizzlies 70 35 26 4 5 79 .564
Kansas City Mavericks 71 36 30 3 2 77 .542
Rapid City Rush 71 29 33 5 4 67 .472
Wichita Thunder 70 27 31 9 3 66 .471
Allen Americans 71 25 40 4 2 56 .394

Next Game: The Steelheads close the regular season on Sunday, Apr. 7 at 1:05 p.m. against the Utah Grizzlies from Maverik Center. Coverage begins at 12:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.TV.

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