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PREVIEW: Game #38 – Steelheads @ Komets

Friday, January 10th
PREVIEW: Game #38 – Steelheads @ Komets

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (20-12-5) VS. FORT WAYNE KOMETS (17-12-5)

FRIDAY, JAN. 10, 2020 | 6:05 P.M. MTALLEN COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL COLISEUMFORT WAYNE, INRADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads make their first appearance at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in franchise history to take on the Fort Wayne Komets and open a two-game weekend.

Head-To-Head: While the Komets won the first head-to-head meeting in franchise history, the Steelheads have won two of three games at home heading into the final two contests of the brief five-game season series. The Steelheads can win the series outright with a win over their next two games. This will also be the fourth and fifth games against Central Division opponents this season still with two remaining in Toledo after this weekend. Last year, the Steelheads went 4-3-0 against Central Division teams but just 1-3-0 on the road.

Last Game: The Steelheads scored twice late in the game to take a 3-1 win over the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday afternoon from the BOK Center. Steelheads defenseman Jeff King (PP, 6:59 1st) converted on the team’s second power play of the game to nudge ahead, 1-0. The Oilers tied the game, 1-1, thanks to defenseman Jake Clifford (7:09 2nd), but Steelheads forward Matt Ustaski (17:25 3rd) found a late goal in the contest to sneak back ahead at 2-1. Steelheads defenseman Colton Saucerman (EN, 18:50 3rd) sealed off the result with an empty-net goal, securing the 3-1 win. Tomas Sholl (15-5-4) saved 30 of 31 shots in the win, while Devin Williams (10-8-2) denied 21 of 23 shots in the loss.

Four Down, Two Left: The Steelheads enter the final weekend of their six-game road trip while splitting their previous four games down the middle with a 2-2-0 record. The Steelheads have also split their residual statistics down the middle as well, scoring three goals or more in two of four games (3.00 GPG), keeping opponents to three goals or less in two of four games (3.33 GAPG), and scoring on the power play in two of four games (2-for-8, 25.0%). This is the middle of a stretch with 13 of 18 games on the road dating back to December 18, and the Steelheads own a 6-3-0 record heading into the second half of the run.

Star-Spangled: Steelheads defenseman Brady Norrish was named to the 2020 Warrior Hockey/ECHL All-Star Classic in Wichita, Kan. on January 22, representing Idaho in the annual event. In 35 games this season, the Strongfield, Sask. native has posted two goals and nine assists for 11 points with a plus-four rating while sitting third on the team in rating. He’s the first defenseman since Travis Walsh during the 2016-17 season and second-straight player from the back-end (Tomas Sholl, goaltender). In two seasons, Norrish has 45 points (12-33–45) through 86 ECHL games and finished last season second among defensemen in scoring (10-24–34) for his rookie season.

The King’s Reign: Steelheads defenseman Jeff King added another pair of points in Sunday’s win, extending his point streak to four games heading into tonight. Since making the transition to forward during the New Year’s Eve game in Allen, the St. Clair, Mich. product has three multi-point games as well as seven points (2-5–7) during his most recent run. He also owns points in five of his last six games since December 18 and through playing both up front and on the back end. The streak ties his career-best set from Jan. 9, 2019 through Jan. 16, 2019 when he added six assists. On the season, King has 13 points (3-10–13) through 21 games with a plus-six rating.

It’s No Use(taski): Steelheads forward Matt Ustaski has been a welcome addition to the front end during the six-game road trip, and his first goal with the Steelheads on Sunday also marked his first game-winning goal of the year and third for his career. The Glenview, Ill. native is on a three-game point streak for the second time in his career, posting three points (1-2–3) in his most recent run after also grabbing three points (2-1–3) with the Jacksonville Icemen from Mar. 18, 2018 through Mar. 24, 2018. Ustaski has already bested last year’s point total (three) through the same number of games (seven), and in his 28-game ECHL career he has tallied 14 points (6-8–14) between Jacksonville, Norfolk and Idaho.

Meteor Shower: The Fort Wayne Komets have won back-to-back games heading into their three-game weekend but have slipped as of recent. Before the pair of wins last week, the Komets had lost eight-straight games dating back to December 13 and 14 against the Steelheads, posting a 0-5-3 record in that time. The first seven of the eight losses were all by two goals or less though five of the eight came at home. All the while, the Komets still averaged three goals per game during that time but just saw opponents score four or more goals in six of the eight losses.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 37 24 7 5 1 54 .730
Idaho Steelheads 37 20 12 3 2 45 .608
Utah Grizzlies 34 18 10 4 2 42 .618
Rapid City Rush 35 19 13 3 0 41 .586
Wichita Thunder 38 16 16 6 0 38 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 34 16 16 2 0 34 .500
Tulsa Oilers 37 15 19 2 1 33 .446

Next Game: The Steelheads close their six-game road trip against the Komets on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 3:05 p.m. MT from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Coverage begins at 2:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" and ECHL.tv.

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