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PREVIEW: Game #20 – Steelheads vs. Rush

Wednesday, November 27th
PREVIEW: Game #20 – Steelheads vs. Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (10-5-4) VS. RAPID CITY RUSH (12-5-2)

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27, 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 open a three-game weekend through the Thanksgiving holiday against the Rapid City Rush from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads dropped their three meetings with the Rush in Rapid City, picking up one point in a shootout loss in the process. This is the first of three home weekends against the Rush during their 13-game season series. The Steelheads have points in 19 of their last 14 meetings since March 2018 and are 38-15-5 all-time while going 16-5-4 at CenturyLink Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads earned the extra point in a 3-2 overtime win over the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday night from CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads scored early for the second-straight night thanks to forward Spencer Naas (4:17 1st) to take a 1-0 lead. A goal late in the first period from Mavericks forward Darian Dziurzynski (PP, 18:35 1st) and early in the second frame from Mavericks defenseman Kevin McKernan (0:52 2nd) gave them the edge, 2-1, however defenseman Colton Saucerman (PP, 18:53 2nd) tied the game, 2-2, later in the period to force overtime. Forward Will Merchant (1:28 OT) was set up on a rush to help the Steelheads earn the 3-2 overtime win. Tomas Sholl (8-2-3) turned away 20 of 22 shots in the win, while Nick Schneider (6-5-2) denied 32 of 35 shots in the overtime loss.

Early & Often: In back-to-back games, the Steelheads not only scored the opening goal but found themselves atop the scoreline in the process. It’s the first time the Steelheads scored back-to-back opening goals since November 2 & 3 in Utah during a pair of road wins. Heading into the weekend, the Steelheads had allowed the opening goal in six of their previous seven games before hitting the mark two-straight games. The Steelheads are now 8-1-0-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, only falling on November 1 (5-4 L vs. UTA) and November 8 (3-2 SOL @ RC). They’ve also performed this feat in four of their six home games.

Keeping It Close: The Steelheads found themselves in another close game on Saturday night and finding another way to earn points. The win marked the sixth time this season in which the Steelheads have won in a one-goal game, and that ranks fifth-most across the ECHL, only trailing Allen (8), Rapid City (8), Cincinnati (7) and Reading (7) atop the league. Additionally, the team owns points in 10 of 12 one-goal games this season, and the only other three teams to hit points in 10 one-goal games so far include Allen (8-1-2-0), Idaho (6-2-2-2), Rapid City (8-3-2-0) and Reading (7-0-3-0). The Steelheads won their first one-goal game since November 3 (1-0 W @ UTA) after dropping three-straight, and they’re now 3-2 in overtime games.

It’s Electric: The Steelheads power play keeps plugging away, scoring on their only opportunity in Saturday’s overtime win during the second period. With that, the Steelheads have scored in five of their last six games on the power play since November 16, boasting a 6-for-16 (37.5%) conversion rate in that time. In two of those games, the Steelheads were held to just one power play opportunity and scored in each game. Recently, the Steelheads have been held to three power play chances or less in five of six games and haven’t breached four chances in 17 of 19 games this season, coming in with the seventh-fewest power play opportunities in the ECHL despite being one of 11 teams with over a 20 percent scoring rate (20.3%).

Going Deep: In their last two games, the Steelheads have found scoring coming from throughout the lineup, and all seven goals scored last week came from different players. So far, 18 of the team’s 22 skaters have scored at least one goal this season and only one player has multiple game-winning goals: Will Merchant, who scored his second in Saturday’s win. With the depth in scoring, the Steelheads have netted three goals or more in four of their last six games, earning points in all of those contests with a 3-0-0-1 record.

Striking Gold: The Rapid City Rush continue to fight their way through the Mountain Division with another three-win week against Tulsa heading into their trip to Boise. Including their three-win week over the Steelheads in early November, the Rush have earned wins in seven of their last nine games, only falling on November 9 (4-3 L @ WIC) and November 16 (10-1 L @ KC) but beating the Tulsa Oilers in four of those seven wins. The Rush have lost back-to-back games three times this season: Opening Weekend and during three-straight losses to open November. The Rush own the second-best record in the Mountain Division and sit tied for third in the ECHL.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 18 13 3 2 0 28 .778
Rapid City Rush 19 12 5 2 0 26 .684
Idaho Steelheads 19 10 5 2 2 24 .632
Wichita Thunder 18 9 5 4 0 22 .611
Tulsa Oilers 20 7 11 2 0 16 .400
Utah Grizzlies 16 6 7 2 1 15 .469
Kansas City Mavericks 17 6 9 2 0 14 .412

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush meet again on Friday, Nov. 29 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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