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PREVIEW #3: Steelheads @ Grizzlies

Sunday, October 24th
PREVIEW #3: Steelheads @ Grizzlies

IDAHO STEELHEADS (2-0-0) @ UTAH GRIZZLIES (0-2-0)

SUNDAY, OCT. 24, 2021 | 1:10 P.M. MTMAVERIK CENTER | WEST VALLEY CITY, UTRADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads conclude their three-game, three-day weekend against the Utah Grizzlies at Maverik Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads claimed the three-game weekend series outright with one game remaining but have had one of the best starts against the Grizzlies, posting 12 goals and two wins. This is the third of a 16-game season series between the Steelheads and Grizzlies with the second in Utah. The Steelheads have won 11 of their last 13 meetings dating back to the 2019-20 regular season, only losing on Nov. 1, 2019 (5-4 L) and Jan. 20, 2020 (2-1 SOL). The Steelheads are 108-52-26 all-time against the Grizzlies in the ECHL era as well as 50-28-13 on the road.

Last Night: The Steelheads spread the offense around in a 5-3 win over the Grizzlies from Maverik Center. The Grizzlies notched the first goal of the night, but the Steelheads came back with three-unanswered tallies through the first period break. Forward Zack Andrusiak (PP, 7:36 1st) netted his second-straight game with a power play goal followed by defenseman Darren Brady (15:41 1st) for his first ECHL goal and a 2-1 lead. Captain A.J. White (2:32 2nd) started the middle frame with a deflection before the Grizzlies began the back-and-forth scoring. Steelheads forward David Norris (10:14 2nd) provided the game-winning goal, 4-2, before another Grizzlies answer in the middle frame, but Steelheads forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk (14:53 3rd) sealed off the victory. Matt Jurusik (1-0-0) halted 29 of 32 shots in the win.

Two For The Show: The Steelheads have opened the 2021-22 regular season with back-to-back games boasting five goals or more for the first time in the ECHL era, and their 12 goals is the most in an opening two games since posting nine goals against Rapid City to begin the 2015-16 season (5-1 W, 5-4 OTL). It’s the second-straight season in which the Steelheads have won their first two games, and in 2019-20 the team won four-straight to start the season. On the power play, the Steelheads have scored in back-to-back games, boasting a 5-for-12 (41.7%) conversion rate, which is the best in the ECHL among teams with two games played or more.

Light Night: The Steelheads and Grizzlies enjoyed their calmest meeting in their rivalry, only amassing four penalty minutes between both teams last night. For the Steelheads, it’s tied for the fewest combined penalty minutes in ECHL team history, overtaking the six minutes combined in three different occasions: Oct. 26, 2019 in Allen (4-3 W); Dec. 18, 2019 in Norfolk (2-0 W); and Jan. 3, 2020 in Tulsa (4-1 L). It’s also tied for the fewest penalty minutes in a game, sharing that feat with their Apr. 7, 2018 meeting in Allen (4-2 W), and it’s the fewest penalty minutes by an opponent in a game, which is shared with the Dec. 12, 2007 meeting at home against Phoenix (4-1 W) as well as that same Tulsa game in January 2020.

Stay Hot: After picking up his first hat-trick on opening night, Steelheads forward A.J. White added another tally in last night’s game, picking up his second deflection goal of the year. His four goals thus far leads the Steelheads both in goals and scoring, and he now shares the ECHL lead in goals with Reading forward Patrick Bajkov, who also has four goals in two games. The Dearborn, Mich. native has moved up to 65 goals in his ECHL career and 45 with the Steelheads, and he is now eight points away from the 200-point plateau for his professional career.

Prapping Up The D: Steelheads defenseman Michael Prapavessis has posted back-to-back games with two assists thanks to two helpers in last night’s win. His contributions over the last two games have propelled him to the team lead in assists in the early going and a share of the second-most assists in the ECHL, only trailing Wichita forward Matteo Gennaro (5) and sharing that spot with Reading forward Josh Winquist (4). That brings him up to 20 assists over his 69-game ECHL career between six different teams (Cincinnati, Idaho, Jacksonville, Orlando, Utah, Wheeling).

Cutling Through: Grizzlies forward Brandon Cutler has taken the early lead in scoring for the team following his two-assist night on Saturday. The Spruce Grove, Alb. native is in his first professional season, racking up his first goal on Friday and his first assist on Saturday. He is the youngest player on the Grizzlies roster at just 21 years old but has had the points touch, earning the third-most points for the WHL’s Victoria Royals in 2020-21 with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) through 22 games and sitting in the top-five the year before. Cutler spent five years in the WHL before beginning his professional career this season.

2019-20 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 1 2 0 0 0 4 1.000
Wichita Thunder 1 1 0 0 0 2 1.000
Rapid City Rush 2 1 1 0 0 2 .500
Tulsa Oilers 2 1 1 0 0 2 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 2 1 1 0 0 2 .500
Utah Grizzlies 2 0 2 0 0 0 .000
Allen Americans 1 0 1 0 0 0 .000

Next Game: The Steelheads open a two-game home weekend against the Rapid City Rush on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are available at idahosteelheads.com or by calling 331-TIXS. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 1350AM KTIK as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
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Friday, October 18th
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Puck Drops:
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Wednesday, October 23rd
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Puck Drops:
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Friday, October 25th
Toledo Walleye @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
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