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PREVIEW: Division Final Game #5 – Steelheads vs. Oilers

Friday, May 3rd
PREVIEW: Division Final Game #5 – Steelheads vs. Oilers

MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINAL:IDAHO STEELHEADS VS. TULSA OILERSSeries: TUL leads 3-1

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2019 | 7:10 P.M. MTCENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDRADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV | TV: CABLE ONE CH. 72

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads once again face elimination in Game 5 of the Mountain Division Final against the Tulsa Oilers from CenturyLink Arena in the 2019 U.S. Bank Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by SmileDirectClub.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads won their first playoff game against the Oilers after dropping the first three games of the series but still must stave off elimination. The two sides met 10 times during the 2018-19 regular season and split their decisions down the middle, going 5-4-1 each during the run with one overtime result for the Oilers and one for the Steelheads. The Steelheads now own a 78-65-16 record all-time in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 17-13 series record. The Oilers are just 8-7-1 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, losing only in the 2015 Division Semifinals prior to this year.

Last Game: The Steelheads scored early to take a 4-2 win over the Oilers in Game 4 on Wednesday night from CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward A.J. White (1:57 1st) scored the earliest goal of the postseason to jump ahead, 1-0. Steelheads forwards Reid Petryk (10:15 1st) and Steve McParland (10:42 1st) quickly tripled the scoring to 3-0 before the end of the opening period. Oilers forward Alex Dostie (PP, 12:06 2nd) answered back to cut the lead down to two at 3-1 before a back-and-forth third period. Steelheads forward Mitch Moroz (5:30 3rd) and Oilers defenseman Charlie Sampair (5:58 3rd) exchanged scoring, and the Steelheads settled in for the 4-2 win. Tomas Sholl (5-4-0) turned away 33 of 35 shots in the win, while Devin Williams (7-4-0) halted 34 of 38 shots in the loss.

Win or Go Home: For the second-straight game, the Steelheads find themselves in an elimination scenario, which will be the theme for the entirety of the Mountain Division Finals. The Steelheads have already come back from a 3-0 series deficit once, taking down the Allen Americans in the 2018 Mountain Division Semifinals, becoming just the second team in ECHL history to do so. In Game 5, the Steelheads are 10-7-1 since 2007 but own a 1-4-1 record when facing elimination in Game 5 in that same span.

Right Start: For just the third time in the playoffs, the Steelheads earned the opening goal and in fact led following any period for the first time during Wednesday’s win. This comes following a regular season in which the Steelheads had nearly the same number of games leading and trailing after the opening goal but led after a period in a majority of their games (52-for-114, 36.11%). When scoring the first goal, the Steelheads are now 2-1-0 in the playoffs and have done so in two of their four games against the Oilers.

Starting Hot: The Steelheads have now started with a high amount of offensive pressure in back-to-back first periods during the Mountain Division Final, but Wednesday’s win found the results the team was looking for. The Steelheads posted 18 shots in two-straight first periods, marking a share of their best period of the postseason while improving the team’s scoring rate in the opening period of the playoffs (6.3%). In fact, the first period is the best frame of the team’s game in terms of goals (7), shots (111) and scoring rate despite the team’s late comebacks and key goals.

Oh Captain: Though Wednesday’s opening goal was just his second point of the series, Steelheads captain A.J. White continues to lead by example and provide one of the most consistent offensive presences on the team. With that goal, he now owns points in over half of his games, producing his five points evenly over nine games since the start of the 2019 playoffs and only trailing Henrik Samuelsson (points in six of nine games) in games with points for players on the roster since the start of the postseason. White is one of four players with at least five points earned and only joins Samuelsson with at least two goals and three points thus far.

Odd Duck: Oilers forward Charlie Sampair became the first player on the roster to score in this series that’s not part of the team’s top unit: Alex Dostie, Stephen Perfetto, Adam Pleskach. Of the nine goals scored, eight have come from those three sticks, and dating back to the opening round of the 2019 playoffs the trio has compiled 25 of their 35 goals (71.4%) while factoring in on 28 of the 35 goals (80.0%) with at least one player earning one point. Sampair has two points in seven games, ending a three-game point drought after 35 points (18g, 17a) in 55 regular season games. Dostie (11-8–19), Perfetto (6-12–18) and Pleskach (8-6–14) lead the Oilers in points.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION FINAL:

#1 Tulsa Oilers vs. #2 Idaho SteelheadsGame 1: Idaho at Tulsa – Friday, April 26 • TUL wins 3-1Game 2: Idaho at Tulsa – Sunday, April 28 • TUL wins 3-1Game 3: Tulsa at Idaho – Tuesday, April 30 • TUL wins 1-0Game 4: Tulsa at Idaho – Wednesday, May 1 • IDH wins 4-2Game 5: Tulsa at Idaho – Friday, May 3 • 7:10 p.m. • CenturyLink Arena (Game E)*Game 6: Idaho at Tulsa – Sunday, May 5 • 3:05 p.m. • BOK Center*Game 7: Idaho at Tulsa – Monday, May 6 • 6:05 p.m. • BOK Center* - if necessary (all games in Mountain Time)

Next Game: If the Steelheads win tonight, they'll meet the Oilers in Game 6 of the Mountain Division Final on Sunday, May 5 at 6:05 p.m. MT from BOK Center. Coverage would begin at 5:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM and ECHL.TV. The Steelheads Official Watch Party information will be released on Saturday.

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