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PREVIEW: Game #25 – Steelheads vs. Americans

Sunday, December 8th
PREVIEW: Game #25 – Steelheads vs. Americans

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (12-8-4) VS. ALLEN AMERICANS (15-4-3)

SATURDAY, DEC. 7, 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 complete their three-game weekend against the Allen Americans from CenturyLink Arena on Teddy Bear Toss For Tots Night.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have split their two overtime meetings with the Americans but have earned points in three of their five total meetings, earning a 2-2-1 record in their 11-game season series. Tonight is the third of six games between the two sides in December with three of the four remaining games at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads are now 16-9-4 against the Americans all-time while going 9-4-2 at home.

Last Night: The Steelheads overcame a pair of two-goal holes to take a 6-5 overtime win over the Americans on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. Americans forwards Gabriel Gagne (1:00 1st) and Alex Guptill (15:12 1st) found early net front goals to take a 2-0 lead before Steelheads forward Will Merchant (4:39 2nd) answered back. Both sides went back and forth in the middle frame with Americans forward Brett Pollock (5:36 2nd) and Steelheads forward Kyle Schempp (PP, 16:42 2nd) trading goals for a 3-2 game. After Steelheads forward Conner Bleackley (6:08 3rd) tied the game on a deflection, Americans forwards John Brittain (8:00 3rd) and Tyler Sheehy (SH, 11:26 3rd) made the most of turnovers to re-take the lead, 5-3. The Steelheads forced overtime thanks to forwards Tye Felhaber (PP, 14:19 3rd) and Spencer Naas (15:27 3rd) late in the game, and forward Max Coatta (2:58 OT) completed the full comeback to claim the 6-5 overtime win. Colton Point (3-4-1) denied 27 of 32 shots in the win, while Jake Paterson (8-2-2) halted 36 of 42 shots in the overtime loss.

Offensive Boost: The Steelheads offense came alive in last night’s win to the tune of a season-high six goals. The output leaps over their five-goal night on October 19 at home against Wichita, and for the fourth time this season the third period’s three goals shares the most goals scored in a single frame. Individually, the Steelheads had four players with multi-point efforts, and 13 of the 16 skaters (81.3%) earned at least one point. The team is now averaging 3.71 goals per game with four goals or more in four of those seven contests.

Comeback Kids: The Steelheads have made a name for coming back late in games, earning their second comeback win over the Americans this season and third time when trailing through two periods in nine attempts. The three full comebacks have come against only two teams: Allen (Oct. 26, 4-3 W; Dec. 6, 6-5 OTW) and Utah (Nov. 2, 3-2 OTW). The overtime loss was against Wichita (Oct. 25, 4-3 OTL). Three of the four points earned in comebacks overcame at least a two-goal deficit with two of those three at three goals. The Steelheads have now won their last three games all in overtime and own a 5-2 record when ending in the post-regulation frame.

Capt. Clutch: Steelheads forward A.J. White was a catalyst in the comeback last night, earning primary assists on the team’s final three goals of the game, including in overtime. The second-year captain had been relatively quiet early in the season but now has points in four of his last six games since Novemer 23, earning six points (1-5–6) and one three-game point streak in that time. White now shares the team lead for single-game assists (3) and points (3) with Marc-Olivier Roy (Oct. 25 @ WIC), and his three-assist night places him tied for second in assists (9) on the team. He led the Steelheads in assists (35) last season.

The Merch Man: Steelheads forward Will Merchant not only struck again in last night’s game but also slides into exclusive company. His goal moves him into a share of 10th all-time on the Steelheads ECHL goal list, sharing the 53-goal mark with David de Kastrozza (2011-15), and it also moves him into sole possession of 10th all-time in Steelheads ECHL scoring at 118 points ahead of Garrett Bembridge (2005-06, 2008-09). The Eagan, Minn. product has had a productive career, earning 140 points (63-77–140) over 233 ECHL games and has had 45-plus point performances in his previous two full seasons in Idaho. 

Extra Points: While the Americans remain tied atop the ECHL after last night’s result, the overtime loss extends a sliding trend in post-regulation play. After winning five-straight overtime games to open the season, the Americans have now dropped three of their last four overtime results, all coming within the last 30 days. however, the Americans have only lost twice when leading after the second period in 11 attempts, and both of those games came against the Steelheads (October 26 and December 4). The Americans are 6-3 in overtime games without seeing a shootout, and they still own the most overtime wins in the ECHL.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 22 15 4 3 0 33 .750
Rapid City Rush 23 15 5 3 0 33 .717
Idaho Steelheads 24 12 8 2 2 28 .583
Wichita Thunder 22 9 8 5 0 23 .523
Kansas City Mavericks 20 9 9 2 0 20 .500
Tulsa Oilers 24 9 13 2 0 20 .417
Utah Grizzlies 20 8 8 3 1 20 .500

Next Game: The Steelheads meet the Fort Wayne Komets for the first time in history on Wednesday, Dec. 11 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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