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PREVIEW: Game #19 – Steelheads vs. Mavericks

Saturday, November 23rd
PREVIEW: Game #19 – Steelheads vs. Mavericks

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (9-5-4) VS. KANSAS CITY MAVERICKS (6-9-1)

SATURDAY, NOV. 23, 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 their two-game weekend against the Kansas City Mavericks and the first week during their four-week home stand at CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads won their opening game of their five-game season series heading into the second of three home games against the Mavericks. The Steelheads have won six-straight home games against the Mavericks, only falling on Apr. 9, 2016 in just their second meeting in franchise history. The Steelheads have now won nine of their 13 overall meetings, owning a 9-4-0 record against the Mavericks as well as 7-1-0 at CenturyLink Arena.

Last Night: The Steelheads scored early and never trailed in a 4-2 win over the Mavericks on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. The back-and-forth first period began on the first shift for Steelheads forward Anthony Nellis (0:14 1st) followed by an answer from Mavericks forward C.J. Eick (SH, 4:25 1st) to tie the game, 1-1. Steelheads forward Kyle Schempp (17:19 1st) pushed in another net front goal before Mavericks forward Loren Ulett (18:26 1st) tied the game again at 2-2. The Steelheads pushed ahead in the second period thanks to forwards Conner Bleackley (4:04 2nd) and Brett Supinski (PP, 11:36 2nd) to snag a 4-2 lead before holding off the Mavericks for the win. Tomas Sholl (7-2-3) denied 26 of 27 shots in the win, while Tyler Parsons (0-1-0) turned away 37 of 41 shots in the loss.

Sparked Light: After coming into the weekend in a scoring funk, the Steelheads found their offense on Friday night with the help of a strong start. The goal 14 seconds into the game by forward Anthony Nellis is one of the earliest goals scored in Steelheads history, and the two-goal first period is also the first of its kind since doing so in back-to-back games on Opening Weekend (October 11 & 12) in Utah. Though the large-scale scoring numbers haven’t favored the Steelheads, they have scored three goals or more in three of their last five games and earning points in all three of those games (2-0-1 record). When scoring three or more goals, the Steelheads are 7-1-2 this season.

Missing Pieces: Speaking of offense, the return of two missing pieces from the forward core factored in during their entry into the lineup. Forward Conner Bleackley missed the first 17 games of the season during his PTO with the Texas Stars (AHL) and scored the game-winning goal last night in his first game this season with the Steelheads. Forward Brett Supinski added a power play goal as insurance after missing the last six games and now has points in three of his last five games (2-2–4). Bleackley is averaging over one point per game in his ECHL career, posting 56 points (27-29–56) in 55 ECHL games, and Supinski is at just under a point per game with 11 points (6-5–11) in 12 ECHL games.

Powered Up: The Steelheads power play added another goal in last night’s win against a stingy Mavericks penalty kill, and that goal only reinforces the cohesiveness of the man-advantage units. The Steelheads now have goals in four of their last five games over the last two weeks, going 5-for-15 (33.3%) in that span while being held to four power plays or less in all of those contests. Additionally, their home record has been strong in a small sample size, boasting a 4-for-17 (23.5%) conversion rate with goals in three of their first five home meetings. The Steelheads power play has improved mightily overall, now sitting 11th in the ECHL (12-for-63, 19.0%) as well as 5th at home.

Movin’ On Up: Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl hit another mark in the team’s ECHL history with last night’s win. Now at 42 wins, he’s tied with Rejean Beauchemin (2008-10) for the third-most wins in Steelheads ECHL history, reaching that mark in only 62 games (.677 win pct.) compared to Beauchemin, who did so in 71 games (.592 win pct.). The road to get there has been impressive, especially this season, with holding opponents to two goals or less in nine of his first 12 games and sitting sixth in the ECHL in GAA (2.09) and fifth in saves (313). He needs just three wins to tie Philippe Desrosiers (2015-18) for second all-time at 45 wins but still trails Steve Silverthorn (2005-08), who owns the team ECHL record at 68 wins.

Killing & Scoring: The Mavericks penalty kill unit has not only been staunch in their defense but also has been able to convert recently while playing down a player. Last night’s shorthanded goal makes it three-straight games with goals on the penalty kill with forward C.J. Eick netting two of the three. The Mavericks are one of six teams with three shorthanded goals or more this season, and Eick is one of three skaters with two shorthanded goals. Additionally, the penalty kill unit has only allowed three power play goals in November, going 41-for-44 (93.2%) during their last 10 games.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 15 11 3 1 0 23 .767
Rapid City Rush 17 10 5 2 0 22 .647
Idaho Steelheads 17 8 5 2 2 20 .588
Wichita Thunder 15 8 4 3 0 19 .633
Tulsa Oilers 18 7 10 1 0 15 .417
Kansas City Mavericks 15 6 8 1 0 13 .433
Utah Grizzlies 14 4 7 2 1 11 .393

Next Game: The Steelheads close their weekend against the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7:10 p.m. from CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling 208-383-0080 or going to idahosteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & ECHL.TV.

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