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PREVIEW #11: Steelheads @ Rush

Saturday, November 13th
PREVIEW #11: Steelheads @ Rush

IDAHO STEELHEADS (5-5-0) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (3-4-1)

SATURDAY, NOV. 13, 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 close their three-game road weekend against the Rapid City Rush from Monument Ice Arena and complete the final game of their six-game road trip.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Rush have split their first four games in their 11-game season series with the Rush earning one extra point thanks to an overtime result on October 30 in Idaho. This is the final game of the three-game weekend and the midway game in the road portion of the season set for the Steelheads. The Rush have won eight of their last 14 meetings with the Steelheads since the start of the 2019-20 season. Overall, the Steelheads own a 44-20-5 record against the Rush while going 23-11-1 at Monument Ice Arena.

Last Night: The Steelheads netted the first two goals but could not hang on in the 4-2 loss to the Rush on Friday night from Monument Ice Arena. The Steelheads found tallies in the first period and continued the momentum left from Wednesday evening. Forward Will Merchant (10:48 1st) put back a rebound on a rush into the offensive zone to take the initial 1-0 lead. On the team’s first power play, Steelheads forward Zack Andrusiak (PP, 18:19 1st) tapped in his own rebound from a net front scrum to double the lead, 2-0. In the second period, the Rush were able to tack on two of their own and found one more in the third to take the 3-2 lead. One more was added into the empty net to provide the 4-2 result.

Country Roads: The Steelheads head into their final game of their six-game, 12-day road trip which is the longest trip of the regular season. The Steelheads have dropped three of their first five games with a chance to split the road swing down the middle. Despite outshooting their opponents in four of five games, the Steelheads have also been held to two goals or less in four of five games on the trip though being outscored only 12-10. On the bright side, the Steelheads have scored on the power play in four-straight games, going 4-for-16 (25.0%) heading into their final road contest this trip.

No Cap, Please: For the first time this year, the Steelheads conceded a hat-trick during Friday’s loss to the Rush. Forward Max Coatta marks the second-straight Rush player to net a hat-trick and third in the last four conceded, joining forward Brennan Saulnier on Nov. 6, 2019 in a 5-1 loss as well as forward Pierre-Luc Mercier on Dec. 31, 2018 in a 6-5 win, all three of which occurred in Rapid City. Though conceding 17 hat-tricks in the ECHL era, the Steelheads have recorded 41 hat-tricks since 2003-04 with one already recorded this year on October 22 by A.J. White in a 7-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies.

No Clearance Racks: Steelheads forward Will Merchant remains one of the most consistent scorers this season thanks to back-to-back games with goals and his second multi-point game in last night’s loss, recording one goal and one assist. With his goal, he now owns goals in three of his last four games as well as points in six of the team’s first 10 games while moving into a share of the team lead in goals (5) with Yauheni Aksiantsiuk. With his night, Merchant moves into a share of the seventh-most points (144) in the Steelheads ECHL era with forward Scott Burt (‘03-’07) as well as the ninth-most assists (80) with defenseman Kory Scoran (‘05-’09, ‘11-’12). He also sits fifth in goals (64) and seventh in games (223).

Captain Planet: Steelheads forward A.J. White added a two-assist night in yesterday’s loss, marking the first multi-point game since his Opening Night hat-trick on October 22. The Dearborn, Mich. native had only earned one point over his last seven games heading into last night’s contest, but his pair of points moves him to seven points (4-3–7) on the season, which is good for fourth on the team in scoring. His two assists also marks 88 career assists with the Steelheads, surpassing forward Scott Burt (‘03-’07) for sixth-most assists in the ECHL era and moving him within three helpers behind Rob Linsmayer (‘12-’17), who earned 91 assists. White also has the eighth-most games (213) in the ECHL era.

Hats A-Flying: Rush forward Max Coatta recorded his first-career hat-trick in last night’s result, scoring the team’s final three goals for both the game-tying goal and game-winning goal. The third-year pro earned it against his former team, where he posted 13 points (7-6–13) in 42 games with the Steelheads and only one multi-goal game in Idaho. The Minnetonka, Minn. native has also earned five of his eight points against the Steelheads over the last three days and now has eight points (4-4–8) in eight games played, sitting second in both goals and overall scoring. Coatta also averaged just over one point per game (8-6–14, 13 games) in Sweden last season.

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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