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PREVIEW: Game #33 – Steelheads vs. Americans

Saturday, December 28th
PREVIEW: Game #33 – Steelheads vs. Americans

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (18-9-5) VS. ALLEN AMERICANS (22-5-5)

SATURDAY, DEC. 28, 2019 | 7:10 P.M. MTCENTURYLINK ARENA | BOISE, IDTICKETS: CLICK HERETV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72 | RADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads play their final game of the 2019 calendar year as well as the midway game of a brief three-game set against the Allen Americans from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Americans have played three-straight games in post-regulation play as well as four of their seven contests. While the Americans still lead the season series, the Steelheads hold a 3-2-2 record with four games remaining and also enter their final home game of the season set. This is the fifth of six games against the Americans in December and the final of five games at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads are now 17-9-5 against the Americans all-time while going 10-4-3 at home.

Last Night: The Steelheads took their first shootout victory of the season in a 1-0 win over the Americans on Friday night from CenturyLink Arena. After both teams stopped a combined 87 shots in regulation and overtime, the teams started scoring in the shootout starting with Americans forward Alex Guptill (1st) and followed by Steelheads defenseman Brady Norrish (2nd) to go 1-1 into the final rounds. Steelheads forward Marc-Olivier Roy (3rd) and Americans forward Tyler Sheehy (3rd) forced another round, and after Steelheads forward A.J. White (4th) pushed ahead, the home side made a crucial save to earn the victory. Tomas Sholl (13-4-4) denied all 40 shots in the win and two of four shots in the shootout. Zach Sawchenko (8-2-3) turned aside all 47 shots in the loss and one of four shots in the shootout.

Sixth Sense: The Steelheads extended their season-best six-game win streak in last night’s shootout win with their first post-regulation during the run. Since the streak began on December 13, the Steelheads have won three-straight games at home–their largest home streak of the season–though five of their six wins came against non-divisional opponents, and they’ve held opponents to two goals or less in five of six games while earning two shutouts in two weeks, allowing only 1.50 goals per game. The streak is the longest since their best ECHL run of nine games from Feb. 20, 2015 through Mar. 7, 2015.

Full Blanking: The Steelheads and Americans both earned shutouts in last night’s game with the home side posting their second in as many weeks. The Steelheads have two shutouts in four games though this being the first in post-regulation play this year and now boast three this season, and it’s the second time in team history that the Steelheads won a shutout in a shootout, joining their 1-0 win over the Utah Grizzlies on Feb. 13, 2016 in another 40-save effort (Jack Campbell). It’s the first 40-save shutout since Nov. 24, 2018 in Rapid City (6-0 W) and the seventh time since the 2006-07 season. The Steelheads  are one shutout win from tying last season’s output.

GOAT Talk: Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl earned his second shutout in as many weeks and followed up his weekly honors with a record-tying performance. The Hermosa Beach, Calif. native now has 10 career shutouts with the Steelheads, which ties the franchise record set by alum Steve Silverthorn (‘05-’08) and doubles the next-highest shutout total during the last 23 years. Sholl has reached this in a fraction of games (71 games) compared to Silverthorn (121 games), and though Sholl has 20 fewer wins than Silverthorn for the franchise record, he also sits second in goals-against average (2.07) and third in save pct. (.931). This year, Sholl leads the ECHL in wins (13) and is third in GAA (2.18) for active players as well as fourth in save pct. (.925).

Quick Draw: Steelheads defenseman Brady Norrish has showcased himself as a master of the shootout thanks to his goal in the second round to get the home side on the board. He’s been successful once in two attempts this season, but through the last two seasons he’s scored three times in five attempts (60.0%), which is well above the league’s average conversion rate over that time (26.7%). The Stongfield, Sask. native has 11 points (2-9–11) in 30 games this season 45 points (12-33–45) in 80 career ECHL games.

The Outliers: The Americans hit a rarity this season in last night’s defeat, falling for the second-straight game for just the second time. Unlike their two losses on Nov. 12 & 14 that saw one regulation loss, both of their past two letdowns came in post-regulation play and extends their point streak to five games (3-0-1-1). However, it’s the second time this season they’ve been shut out in a contest (Nov. 14 @ CIN: 1-0 OTL) and just the seventh time in 32 games (21.9%) they’ve been held to two goals or less. The Americans have yet to lose three-straight games this season as well as be held to two goals or less in three-straight contests.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 32 22 5 5 0 49 .766
Idaho Steelheads 32 18 9 3 2 41 .641
Utah Grizzlies 29 15 9 4 1 35 .603
Rapid City Rush 29 15 12 3 0 35 .583
Wichita Thunder 33 14 14 5 0 33 .500
Tulsa Oilers 32 13 17 2 0 28 .438
Kansas City Mavericks 29 12 15 2 0 26 .448

Next Game: The Steelheads head South for New Year's Eve when they play the Americans on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 5:05 p.m. MT from Allen Events Center. Coverage begins at 4:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.tv.

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