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PREVIEW: Game #37 – Steelheads @ Oilers

Sunday, January 5th
PREVIEW: Game #37 – Steelheads @ Oilers

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (19-12-5) VS. TULSA OILERS (15-18-3)

SUNDAY, JAN. 45 2020 | 3:05 P.M. MTBOK CENTER | TULSA, OKRADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads finish their three-game, three-day set against the Tulsa Oilers from the BOK Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have now dropped three-straight games against the Oilers to open the season series with five games remaining. The Oilers can claim at least a share of the season series with one win over their next five games. The two sides will finish their season series this month heading into the third of seven contests between the Steelheads and Oilers, and three of the remaining five meetings will come at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads are 15-9-2 against the Oilers all-time in the regular season as well as 9-5-1 at the BOK Center.

Last Night: The Steelheads slipped in the third period during a 3-2 loss to the Oilers on Saturday night from the BOK Center. Oilers forward Adam Pleskach (5:44 2nd) opened the scoring after a scoreless opening frame to take an early 1-0 lead. The Steelheads answered 16 seconds later thanks to defenseman Colton Saucerman (6:00 2nd) followed by forward A.J. White (10:41 2nd) to take their first lead of the season set, 2-1. The Oilers tied the game on a tip by forward Jack Nevins (14:44 2nd), and Pleskach (PP, 7:14 3rd) netted the game-winner on a bank shot in the 3-2 result. Olle Eriksson Ek (4-8-1) stopped 38 of 40 shots in the win, while Colton Point (5-7-1) halted 24 of 27 shots in the loss.

Halfway Done: The Steelheads enter the second half of the 2019-20 season on a down note but have performed on-par with last year’s pacing. The Steelheads own 19 wins and 43 points through 36 games this season, sitting only four points off last season’s pace at the midway mark of the season though trail in wins (22). The stark difference between the last two seasons has been home and road performance, where the Steelheads have done well on the road this year (10-5-4 record) but performed better at home (13-4-2 record) last season. The Steelheads are on-pace for 86 points by season’s end, which is two points fewer than earned last year and would still place them in the top-two for final Mountain Division Standings despite earning five fewer points than forecasted in 2018-19 from this point.

The Right Foot: After winning six-straight games crossing through the holidays, the Steelheads have dropped three of their last four contests as well as back-to-back games to begin the New Year. In their last four games, the Steelheads have conceded the opening goal in three of those games and lost all three times when trailing after the first goal. Up until the rut, that hasn’t always been the case, going 6-7-3 when trailing after the opening goal with three comeback victories after the second period. On the other side, the Steelheads have done well in closing games when leading early, going 13-2-2 after netting the opening tally. Five of the team’s last seven wins have come after scoring the first goal.

Highs & Lows: The Steelheads have done exceptional work in creating scoring opportunities but have struggled to capitalize on those chances. The Steelheads lead the ECHL in shots per game (36.83) while sitting in the bottom four in goals scored (2.81). That conversion rate (7.6%) is the lowest in the ECHL with the next lowest conversion rate owned by Adirondack (9.2%), and the Steelheads fall below the league average (10.2%) for converting. However, despite this disparity, the Steelheads remain in the top-six in points on the year.

Shapeshifting: Steelheads defenseman Jeff King has played at forward for parts of the last three games and has produced well in his time up front. The St. Clair, Mich. native is on his first three-game point streak of the season and third in the last two seasons, posting five points (1-4–5) as well as points in four of his last five contests. His largest point streak sits at four games from Jan. 9, 2019 through Jan. 16, 2019 with six assists as a defenseman. King’s five points in three games almost tied his season point total (six points) in his first 17 contests, and on the year he owns 11 points (2-9–11) over 20 games.

Pleskach: Oilers forward Adam Pleskach had a big night, factoring in on all three goals scored with two coming on his stick during the win. It’s the fourth multi-point game of the season for the Beausejour, Man. native, who is having a lower production year than last season. He posted 75 points (38-37–75) with 14 power play goals in 72 games last season, his best career total, and at the halfway point this year he owns 26 points (10-16–26) in 36 games. Pleskach is on-pace for 52 points, his point total from two seasons ago, and so far he sits second on the Oilers in goals and scoring while leading the ECHL in shots (133).

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 37 24 7 5 1 54 .730
Idaho Steelheads 36 19 12 3 2 43 .597
Utah Grizzlies 33 18 9 4 2 42 .636
Rapid City Rush 33 18 12 3 0 39 .591
Wichita Thunder 37 15 16 6 0 36 .486
Kansas City Mavericks 34 16 16 2 0 34 .500
Tulsa Oilers 36 15 18 2 1 33 .458

Next Game: The Steelheads make their first trip to Indiana to take on the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday, Jan. 10 at 6:05 p.m. from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.tv.

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