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PREVIEW: Game #54 – Steelheads vs. Rush

Friday, February 21st
PREVIEW: Game #54 – Steelheads vs. Rush

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (29-17-7) VS. RAPID CITY RUSH (27-21-5)

FRIDAY, FEB. 21, 2020 | 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 begin a two-game weekend against the Rapid City Rush from CenturyLink Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads head into the final two games during their seven-straight meetings at CenturyLink Arena against the Rush in the season series. The Rush have controlled the season series so far, pressing the Steelheads to a 2-5-1 record during their 13-game season series and can ultimately claim the season set with just one win during their final five meetings this season. The Steelheads split their two games with the Rush crossing into February and hold a 40-18-5 all-time record against Rapid City while going 18-8-4 at CenturyLink Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads pounced early on the Kansas City Mavericks to take a 5-3 win on Wednesday night from CenturyLink Arena. Steelheads forward Marc-Olivier Roy (4:22 1st) opened the scoring on a rebound to take the early 1-0 advantage. After a disallowed deflection, Steelheads forward Colby McAuley (PP, 16:02 1st) tallied his own tip in front of the net followed by another deflection by forward Brett Supinski (8:23 2nd) to gain vengeance on his disallowed goal for the 3-0 lead. On a turnover, Steelheads forward Spencer Naas (10:53 2nd) hit the top-left corner of the net for a four-goal advantage, 4-0. The Mavericks answered back thanks to forwards Rocco Carzo (4:30 3rd) and Mitch Vanderlaan (16:27 3rd) before Steelheads defenseman Ondrej Vala (EN, 17:52 3rd) put the game out of reach, 5-2. Mavericks forward Marcus Crawford (18:22 3rd) added one more, but the Steelheads earned the 5-3 win. Tomas Sholl (23-8-5) halted 25 of 28 shots in the win, while Tyler Parsons (10-8-1) denied 27 of 31 shots in the loss.

Chugging Along: The Steelheads earned their third-straight win at home on Wednesday night as well as just their first Wednesday win to open at least a three-game homestand in three attempts. The win matches the team’s best home streak set on November 22-27 (4-2 W vs. KC; 3-2 OTW vs. KC; 4-3 OTW vs. RC) and December 13-27 (4-2 W vs. FW; 5-4 W vs. FW; 1-0 SOW vs. ALN) with their most goals scored since December 31 in Allen (6-5 OTW). That win also marks the team’s fifth win during their last seven games since January 31, only falling on February 1 (2-1 L vs. RC) and February 16 (4-1 L @ TOL) in regulation. The Steelheads have eight games remaining in their stretch with 13 of 15 games at home, and overall the Steelheads now sit four games over .500 at home for the first time this season.

Early Pounce: The early start for the Steelheads was a rarity compared to their body of work this season but a welcome addition to kick off the homestand. The team’s lead after the first period was their first since January 12 in Fort Wayne (13 games) when they also held a 2-0 lead following the first frame. While the Steelheads have earned the first goal in three of five games, they’ve also only led after one period just 11 times this season and three times over their last 17 contests since January 5. However, the Steelheads are 9-1-1-0 when they lead after one frame and now 19-3-1-1 when they score the game’s first goal. The Steelheads have the fewest first period goals (34) in the ECHL this year and are one of three teams under 40 first period goals (Wichita - 39; Wheeling - 38).

Super Sup: Steelheads forward Brett Supinski kept his point streak alive with a deflection goal on Wednesday night, moving his stretch to five-straight games. While his assist streak ended at four contests, the Collegeville, Penn. has been posting points at a consistent pace in the third quarter of the season, netting points in nine of his last 11 games (2-8–10) as well as 11 of 15 games (73.3%) after sitting out the first two games of the quarter on January 5 & 10. Supinski leads Steelheads rookie scorers in assists and points while sharing the lead in goals (13-15–28) and is fourth overall on the team in scoring with the second-best player rating (+14). His five-game point streak is the third-longest for a Steelheads player this season.

Whitewater Rapids: The Rapid City Rush have found a bit of misfortune as of late, coming into their two games in Idaho with back-to-back losses in Utah on Monday and Wednesday. The Rush are in the midst of a four-game road swing with losses in four-straight road contests and five of seven games overall since their last meeting with the Steelheads on February 1. In that time, the Rush have been held to two goals or less in five of those seven games but have also held opponents to that in more than half. The Rush have seen their lead for fourth place in the Mountain Division slip from six points to three points in that time with 19 games remaining in the regular season.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Allen Americans 54 35 11 6 2 78 .722
Utah Grizzlies 54 32 15 5 2 71 .657
Idaho Steelheads 53 29 17 3 4 65 .613
Rapid City Rush 53 27 21 5 0 59 .557
Tulsa Oilers 56 25 25 5 1 56 .500
Wichita Thunder 56 21 27 8 0 50 .446
Kansas City Mavericks 54 22 28 3 1 48 .444

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush close their two-game weekend on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:10 p.m. from CenturyLink Arena. Tickets are available by calling 208-331-TIXS(8497) 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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