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PREVIEW: Game #4 – Steelheads vs. Thunder

Saturday, October 19th
PREVIEW: Game #4 – Steelheads vs. Thunder

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (3-0-0) VS. WICHITA THUNDER (1-1-2)

SATURDAY, OCT. 19, 2019 | 7:10 P.M. MTCENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDTICKETS: CLICK HERETV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72 | RADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads finish Home Opening Weekend and the final home meeting against the Wichita Thunder from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads reversed their result from their opening game against the Thunder last season, winning in post-regulation play. The Steelheads and Thunder will meet a total of five games this season with the next three meetings all coming on the road in three different trips. Last season, the Steelheads earned a 2-2-2 record head-to-head and went 1-1-1 at CenturyLink Arena. While the Thunder hold the franchise series, the Steelheads are 6-4-3 against the Thunder as well as 3-2-1 at CenturyLink Arena.

Last Night: The Steelheads opened their home schedule with a 2-1 overtime win over the Thunder on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward Will Merchant (PP, 15:49 1st) put home a one-time pass from Captain A.J. White to jump ahead, 1-0. The Thunder answered late in the game on a tally from forward Ostap Safin (13:26 3rd) to tie the game at 1-1 and force extra time. The Steelheads would not be denied a win on their home ice with defenseman Colton Saucerman (4:09 OT) punching home the winner in a 2-1 overtime victory. Goaltender Tomas Sholl (3-0-0) turned away 24 of 25 shots in the win, while netminder Mitch Gillam (1-1-1) halted 39 of 41 shots in the loss.

Trending Up: The Steelheads continue to trend upwards to open the season with their Home Opener win last night. The team keeps marching toward the 2009-10 mark (6-0-0) for the best record to open the season and also makes it five-straight wins during the first home game of the year. The Steelheads have now won in overtime during their Home Opener in back-to-back seasons, joining their 6-5 overtime win over the Utah Grizzlies from last season. The Steelheads are now 9-3-1-1 during Home Openers, however the team is 6-3-2-0 in the rest of Home Opening Weekend.

Bonus Hockey: Speaking of overtime, the Steelheads earned their first post-regulation win in this fashion since Charlie Dodero sealed 3-2 a victory on Feb. 13, 2019 against the Rapid City Rush on at home. This is also the second-straight game at CenturyLink Arena between the Steelheads and Thunder that has ended in overtime (Mar. 9, 2019: 6-5 OTL). Last season, the Steelheads earned a 8-4 record in overtime games and were 11-6 in all post-regulation results, and including the playoff the Steelheads shined with a 12-4 overtime record.

Marco, Polo: Steelheads forward Marc-Olivier Roy added his third-straight game with an assist in last night’s win, marking the first three-game point streak of the season for any Steelheads player. His assist run is the longest since his career-high four-game stretch (five assists) from Jan. 23, 2018 to Feb. 2, 2018, and this is the longest point run since his career-best seven-game streak (5-5–10) later that same season from Feb. 7, 2018 through Feb. 17, 2018. In his third full season in the ECHL, the Boisbriand, Que. native has averaged nearly a point-per-game, tallying 84 points (31g, 53a) in 92 total games while sitting three points below is game total in his previous two seasons in Fort Wayne.

Fear The Beard: Steelheads defenseman Colton Saucerman notched his first point of the season with his game-winner in overtime, continuing a strong scoring trend in ECHL play. The Colorado Springs, Colo. product came into the 2019-20 season on a five-game regular season point streak dating back to Dec. 8, 2018 in his final game with the Steelheads before his call-up to the Utica Comets (AHL). In his short 15-game stint with the Steelheads, Saucerman has followed through on defensive scoring, notching nine points (4g, 5a) through 13 games and is now two points from hitting 100 career professional points (16-82–98).

Got Ketchup: The Thunder have opened their 2019-20 campaign getting off to slow starts, forced to play catch-up for their opening four games heading into the third and final game of their western road swing. In the first period alone, the Thunder have been outscored 8-1 and have their largest shot differential (-14) in that frame. Additionally, the team has trailed in all four games heading into the third period and only scored the game’s opening goal once, coincidentally, in their lone win so far: October 12 against Rapid City (Stefan Fournier). Last season, the Thunder earned 12 extra points in post-regulation losses and thus far lead the ECHL with two results.

2018-19 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 3 3 0 0 0 6 1.000
Utah Grizzlies 4 2 2 0 0 4 .500
Allen Americans 3 2 1 0 0 4 .667
Wichita Thunder 4 1 1 2 0 4 .500
Rapid City Rush 3 1 1 1 0 3 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 3 1 2 0 0 2 .333
Tulsa Oilers 4 1 3 0 0 2 .250

Next Game: The Steelheads and Thunder meet for a third-straight game on Friday, Oct. 25 at 6:05 p.m. from INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. to open a three-game road weekend. Coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" & ECHL.TV.

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