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PREVIEW: Game #34 – Steelheads @ Americans

Tuesday, December 31st
PREVIEW: Game #34 – Steelheads @ Americans

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (18-10-5) VS. ALLEN AMERICANS (23-5-5)

TUESDAY, DEC. 31, 2019 | 5:05 P.M. MTALLEN EVENT CENTER | ALLEN, TXRADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads play their final game of the 2019 calendar year and last of three-straight games against the Allen Americans from Allen Event Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Americans play their sixth and final game of December, and so far the Americans have led the season series getting wins in five of eight games and forcing the Steelheads to a 3-3-2 record with three games remaining. The two sides have met in post-regulation play in four of eight games and been separated by one goal in five of eight contests. The Steelheads own a 17-10-5 record all-time against the Americans while going 7-5-2 at Allen Event Center.

Last Game: The Steelheads ended their six-game point streak in a 5-2 loss against the Americans on Saturday night from CenturyLink Arena. After Americans forward Tyler Sheehy (PP, 4:14 1st) started the scoring early, the Steelheads scored back-to-back goals beginning with forward Eric Sweetman (PP, 12:29 1st) and followed the next frame by captain A.J. White (1:19 2nd) to take a 2-1 lead. However, the Americans netted four-straight goals through the third period with three coming in the second period combined by forwards Jordan Topping (9:58 2nd) and Jared VanWormer (PP, 14:49 2nd; 17:06 2nd) to spring ahead 4-2. Americans defenseman Stephan Falkovsky (9:19 3rd) finished the scoring in the 5-2 result. Dereck Baribeau (2-0-0) halted 47 of 49 shots in the win, while Colton Point (5-6-1) stopped 17 of 22 shots in the loss.

Down But Up: The Steelheads broke their season-long six-game win streak in their final home game of the calendar year but are still trending in the right direction in multiple facets. Even with the loss, the Steelheads own points in eight of their last 10 games, posting a 7-2-1-0 record in that span. With four games to go before the midway mark of the season, the Steelheads need just one win to tie their first quarter win total (9) and five points to get to their point total from the first 18 games (22). Additionally, they’ve been out-chancing opponents with over 40 shots in four of their last five games (42.40 shots per game) and scoring at a 3.00 goal-per-game clip in their last seven contests.

D-Fence: The Steelheads defense has remained stalwart during their uptick in point production despite giving up five goals on Saturday night. Even with that performance, the team has still kept opponents to two goals or less in five of seven games, holding them to just 1.88 goals allowed per game. Most recently, the Steelheads ended their perfect streak on the penalty kill at 16-straight attempts but are perfect in three of their last four contests. Plus, opponents have been held to 30 shots or less in four of five games (27.4 shots per game). The Steelheads rank in the top-10 in goals against (2.73, 4th), shots against (29.73, 7th) and penalty kill (83.6%, 10th).

Lead By Example: Steelheads captain A.J. White remains a point-producing machine with another tally in Saturday’s loss. The third-year Steelhead struggled to post points with only five points in his first 18 games, but since turning to the second quarter now owns points in 11 of his last 14 games since November 23. In that time, he compiled an eight-game point streak (4-11–15), leads all Steelheads players in points for December (16 points), has earned multi-point games in five of his last nine games with points, and has worked his plus/minus rating from a -11 to even in just seven games. He now has points in nine of 10 games (5-11–16) and sits second in assists (17) and scoring (24) while not missing a game since the 2017-18 season.

Star Spangled Awesome: With their win on Saturday, the Americans are on a six-game point streak while expanding their lead in the Mountain Division. This is the fourth time this season that the Americans have hit a six-game point streak, all of which have been separated by a single regulation loss, and all four streaks have consisted of four or more wins. In this iteration, the Americans have posted five goals or more in four of their six games (all wins), and opponents have only yielded more than three goals once: December 18 in Worcester (5-4 W). Speaking of offense, the Americans have scored four goals or more in 11 of their last 13 games, averaging 4.38 goals scored per game. The Americans’ longest point streak stands at seven games from November 14-30 (5-0-2-0 record).

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 33 23 5 5 0 51 .773
Idaho Steelheads 33 18 10 3 2 41 .621
Utah Grizzlies 31 17 9 4 1 39 .629
Rapid City Rush 31 17 11 3 0 37 .597
Wichita Thunder 35 15 15 5 0 35 .500
Tulsa Oilers 34 13 18 2 1 29 .426
Kansas City Mavericks 31 13 16 2 0 28 .452

Next Game: The Steelheads open the 2020 calendar year on Friday, Jan. 3 at 6:05 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers from BOK Center. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.tv.

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