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PREVIEW #10: Steelheads @ Rush

Friday, November 12th
PREVIEW #10: Steelheads @ Rush

IDAHO STEELHEADS (5-4-0) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (2-4-1)

FRIDAY, NOV. 12, 2021 | 7:05 P.M. MTMONUMENT ICE ARENA | RAPID CITY, SDRADIO: 1350 KTIK-AM | STREAM: FLOHOCKEYCLICK HERE FOR GAME NOTES

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads head into their second game of their three-game road weekend against the Rapid City Rush from Monument Ice Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads won their first game in regulation against the Rush on Wednesday night, taking an edge in the season series with a 2-1-0 record and back-to-back wins. The Steelheads have won all but one season series since the two teams’ first meeting in 2014-15, and the Rush still have won seven of their last 13 meetings through the 2019-20 season. Overall, the Steelheads own a 44-19-5 record against the Rush while going 23-10-1 on the road.

Last Game: The offense came alive for the Steelheads in their opening meeting with the Rush on the weekend with a 4-1 win on Wednesday from Monument Ice Arena. The Steelheads struck early for the second-straight game on a one-time shot from defenseman Michael Prapavessis (2:46 1st) for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. The Rush outpaced the Steelheads 17-7 early in shots, but Idaho found the net two more times in the second period. Forward Will Merchant (1:17 2nd) pushed through a shot on a breakout, and defenseman Darren Brady (PP, 10:56 2nd) cashed in on a wrist shot to stretch the lead to 3-0. The Rush notched their lone tally less than one minute later, but the Steelheads offense continued to run and added one more from forward David Norris (12:49 3rd) to round out the final score, 4-1.

The Road So Far: The Steelheads crossed into the second half of their six-game road trip with a win, marking back-to-back wins for a 2-2-0 record on the trip. The win on Wednesday was the first time since October 29 that the team has scored four or more goals and overall the fourth time this season, but they’ve also out shot their opponents in three of four games with over 30 shots in all those contests. Additionally, special teams has been at a premium, scoring in three-straight games on the power play for the first time this year with a 3-for-15 (20.0%) rate and killing off 9-of-11 (81.8%) penalty kills.

The 700 Club: Thanks to their wins this week, the Steelheads are just the seventh active ECHL team to break the 700-win plateau, officially secured on Sunday in Tulsa then added onto on Wednesday. The Steelheads join South Carolina (1,124), Toledo (1,044), Florida (990), Wheeling (838), Cincinnati (734) and Reading (719) in the exclusive club of active teams with franchises in that city. Of those seven teams, the Steelheads own the second-best win percentage (.629) in their team’s history, trailing only Florida (.651) atop those teams. The Steelheads own a 701-390-131 record since their debut season in 2003-04, and including the WCHL era the team is 936-544-165 (.619) over the last 25 years.

Call Me Chuck: Steelheads forward David Norris came up big in the opening game of the weekend, tallying one goal and two assists on Wednesday. The Calgary, Alb. native missed the last five-straight games as well as the first leg of the current road trip prior to his three-point night, which was also the third time a Steelheads player has notched a trifecta this season, joining Luc Brown (2-1–3) and A.J. White (hat-trick) in their Opening Night performances on October 22. In just three games, Norris owns four points (2-2–4) and tallies in two of three games in his first professional season in North America.

Walking The Walk: Steelheads forward Zach Walker was one of three players with a multi-point game on Wednesday night, earning two assists for his first multi-point game of the season. The Boise native earned his first assist since Opening Night on October 22, and two of his three helpers came on the power play. Walker owns three assists in six games and now has halved his assist total from the 2020-21 season in SPHL Pensacola with 30 fewer games played. Defenseman Michael Prapavessis was the other multi-point scorer (1-1–2) on Wednesday, sitting tied for second in the ECHL for assists (8) and tied for second among ECHL defenseman in overall scoring (9).

Panning For Gold: The Rapid City Rush have fallen on hard times as of late, dropping their fourth-straight game with their loss on Wednesday night. Since falling in overtime to the Steelheads on October 30, the Rush own a 0-3-1 record while allowing four goals or more in three-straight games while being outscored 15-7. While the Rush earned their highest shot total of the season (34) on Wednesday, the team has only broken the 30-shot mark twice this year (October 22 vs. Tulsa) and have yet to out shoot their opponents in a game while conceding over 30 shots in all but one game (October 23 vs. Tulsa). The Rush sit in the bottom four in shots attempted (27.00, 26th) and shots against (36.14, 24th).

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 8 6 2 0 0 12 .750
Tulsa Oilers 6 4 2 0 0 8 .667
Kansas City Mavericks 7 4 3 0 0 8 .571
Idaho Steelheads 8 4 4 0 0 8 .500
Allen Americans 6 2 2 2 0 6 .500
Rapid City Rush 6 2 3 1 0 5 .417
Wichita Thunder 7 2 5 0 0 4 .286

Next Game: The Steelheads continue their three-game weekend against the Rapid City Rush on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 1350AM KTIK and FloHockey.

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