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PREVIEW: Game #31 – Steelheads @ Admirals

Saturday, December 21st
PREVIEW: Game #31 – Steelheads @ Admirals

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (16-9-5) @ NORFOLK ADMIRALS (9-17-3)

SATURDAY, DEC. 21, 2019 | 5:30 P.M. MTNORFOLK SCOPE | NORFOLK, VARADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads close their three-game season series heading into the holidays against the Norfolk Admirals from Norfolk Scope

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have already claimed the season series against the Admirals heading into their final meeting of three this season. With Friday’s win, the Steelheads also remain unbeaten in regulation in Norfolk, earning a 4-0-1 record at Norfolk Scope while extending their lead in the franchise series to 5-1-1 since the 2016-17 season. The Steelheads are 2-1-0 against the South Division heading into their fourth of seven divisional meetings, and the road team has won all three games so far.

Last Night: The Steelheads scored the decisive goal in the final minute to sink the Admirals in a 3-2 regulation win on Friday night from Norfolk Scope. Admirals forward Philippe Hudon (7:55 1st) opened the scoring from the right circle before a pair of follow-up goals came starting with Steelheads forward Max Coatta (10:38 1st) followed by Admirals forward Zack Phillips (11:02 1st) for a 2-1 lead for the home side. Coatta (17:14 2nd) added his second of the game on a wrap-around attempt to tie the game, 2-2, heading into the final frame. In the final seconds, Steelheads defenseman Keegan Kanzig (19:43 3rd) sealed the result with a blue line shot for the 3-2 win. Colton Point (5-5-1) turned away 22 of 24 shots in the win, while Roman Durny (2-4-0) halted 39 of 42 shots in the loss.

Four-of-a-Kind: In eight days, the Steelheads have won four-straight games heading into their final pre-holiday finale. The streak is the second time this season the team has posted four-consecutive wins, joining their streak to begin the season through October 19 that also spurred their season-best seven-game point streak. Compared to their last run, the Steelheads have scored more goals (14-13) and though not holding opponents to fewer goals have held other teams to two goals or less in three of four wins. The Steelheads are still off the mark for the longest streak in the ECHL era at nine games (Feb. 20, 2015 – Mar. 7, 2015) but they do share the league’s longest active win streak with Wheeling.

Well-Traveled: The Steelheads have been a much better defensive team on the road than at home this season evidenced by back-to-back wins while allowing two goals or less. Through 15 road games this season, the Steelheads are averaging just 2.20 goals against per game while conversely allowing 3.40 goals against per contest through 15 home games, and in their road games they have held opponents to two goals or less in 10 of those 15 games. Ironically, the last two game-winning goals have been scored by defensemen (Ondrej Vala, Keegan Kanzig) on Wednesday and Friday. The Steelheads ar 8-3-4 (.667) on the road this season and have earned points in four of their last five road contests since November 15, going 3-1-1 against four different teams.

The Great White: Steelheads captain A.J. White extended his point streak to seven games with another two-assist performance in last night’s win. The Dearborn, Mich. native grows his career-best streak with now 13 points (4-9–13) as well as five multi-point games and his only career multi-goal contest on December 13. He sits two games away from tying the team’s point streak record set by forward Marc-Olivier Roy at nine games, during which he added 12 points (1-11–12) through the first nine games of the season. White owns 22 points (6-16–22) through 30 games this season, moving into sole possession of second on the team in scoring and coming within seven of Roy for the most assists on the roster.

Coats of Arms: Steelheads forward Max Coatta had his best offensive night during yesterday’s win, posting the first two of three goals scored by the road side. The multi-goal effort is the first of his career and just the second mutli-point game, joining his two-point night on December 7 (1-1–2) during his last game with points. The Minnetonka, Minn. product has been on a tear since netting his first professional goal on November 27, notching points in five of his last eight games and earning all five goals in that time along with one assist. With his recent surge, Coatta now sits tied for second on the team in rookie goals and owns nine points (6-3–9) through 19 games.

Rocky Rockies: The Admirals have struggled to earn points against Mountain Division opponents this season, which has also translated to all non-divisional opponents. The Admirals are now 0-4-1 against teams from the Mountain Division (Allen, Idaho, Wichita) with two of the four regulation losses coming at home against the Steelheads. While they’ve been able to grab two wins against the North Division in five games, the Admirals are 2-7-1 when playing outside the division this season. Tonight is the final chance to earn a win against a Mountain Division team, and they’ll have two games against the Central Division (Wheeling) starting on New Year’s Eve to finish out their Western Conference schedule.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 29 21 5 3 0 45 .776
Idaho Steelheads 30 16 9 3 2 37 .617
Rapid City Rush 28 15 10 3 0 33 .589
Wichita Thunder 30 13 12 5 0 31 .517
Utah Grizzlies 27 13 9 4 1 31 .574
Tulsa Oilers 30 12 16 2 0 26 .433
Kansas City Mavericks 27 11 14 2 0 24 .444

Next Game: The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Dec. 27 at 7:10 p.m. to open a two-game weekend against the Allen Americans. Tickets are available by calling 208-331-TIXS 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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