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PREVIEW #13: Steelheads vs. ADK Thunder

Friday, November 19th
PREVIEW #13: Steelheads vs. ADK Thunder

IDAHO STEELHEADS (7-5-0) VS. ADIRONDACK THUNDER (4-5-1)

FRIDAY, NOV. 19, 2021 | 7:10 P.M. MTIDAHO CENTRAL ARENA | BOISE, IDTICKETS: CLICK HERETV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72RADIO: 95.3FM & 1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEYCLICK HERE FOR GAME NOTES

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads continue their three-game weekend with the Adirondack Thunder from Idaho Central Arena in game two of the six-game homestand.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have won three-straight meetings against the Thunder since their last meetings in the 2016-17, taking three of four contests in the franchise series. The Thunder won the first meeting on Nov. 9, 2016 by a 6-3 decision, but the Steelheads won back-to-back results with a 4-3 shootout win and 4-2 regulation victory. The Steelheads went 58-29-9 overall and 28-9-3 when the Thunder were in Stockton, and the Steelheads also are 8-4-1 all-time against North Division opponents with another three-game series against the Worcester Railers later this year.

Last Game: The Steelheads held on for a 3-2 win over the Thunder on Wednesday night from Idaho Central Arena. The Thunder struck first just 18 seconds in for the early advantage before the Steelheads warmed up offensively and took control. On an odd-man rush, forward Chase Zieky (13:34 1st) capitalized on a rebound to level the scoring, 1-1. The Steelheads earned their first power play late in the middle frame and took that chance to strike as forward Colby McAuley (PP, 18:13 2nd) put back a rebound from the slot through traffic to take the 2-1 lead. Forward A.J. White (7:45 3rd) also added one in the final frame thanks to persistence for the two-goal advantage before fighting began in two different instances. The Thunder found one to come within one, but the Steelheads held on for the win.

Sweet Home Boise: The Steelheads have started off the home schedule on a strong note, winning not only back-to-back games dating to October 30 but also three of their first four contests overall at Idaho Central Arena. The Steelheads have held opponents to three goals or less in all three wins while also scoring in three of four games on the power play, going 6-for-20 (30.0%) in that span. All three top teams in the Mountain Division own a 3-1-0 home record, and the Steelheads are one of just eight teams across the ECHL with a maximum of one loss at home.

Midnight Special: The Steelheads special teams have maximized their opportunities and used discipline to create a large amount of opportunities with another successful night on Wednesday. The team now has power play goals in five of their last six games (5-for-22, 22.7%) while also staying perfect on the penalty kill in four of five games (10-for-11, 90.9%). The Steelheads have the second-most power plays (49) and the second-fewest penalty kills (26) in the ECHL, and their plus-23 differential is best in the league with the closest team sitting at a plus-14 differential (Greenville). The Steelheads now have 11 power play goals on the year, which is also second in the ECHL.

Steel River: Steelheads forward Will Merchant has continued his hot stretch into the homestand with an assist on Wednesday, marking his fourth-straight game with a point, a team-high to start the year. The Eagan, Minn. native has earned five points (two goals, three assists) since November 10 and is now up to a share of the team lead in goals (5) and scoring (10) with forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk. Merchant has 145 points in his Steelheads career and sits two points behind Rob Linsmayer (‘12-’17) for fifth place on the team’s all-time ECHL list.

Walk This Way: Steelheads forward Zach Walker picked up his second assist at home on Wednesday on the team’s lone power play goal. The Boise native has three assists over his last four games, moving his total to four helpers in nine games this season. In 36 games with SPHL Pensacola last season, Walker tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) and is currently on-pace to reach about 25 points if he keeps on his current trajectory. He had 18 points in his four-year collegiate career at Boston College.

Not By Kelly Clarkson: Thunder forward Tyler Irvine has had a strong start to his second professional season and earned his team-leading fifth goal in Wednesday’s loss. The Livonia, Mich. native has goals in three-straight games and points in four-straight, consistently putting up points with tallies in seven of his first 10 games of the year. His eight points (five goals, three assists) eclipses his career-best set in his first season with AHL Binghamton in 2020-21, posting four points in 25 games. The former Merrimack College prospect is sitting tied for third in scoring and is on an AHL contract with the Utica Comets.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 12 7 5 0 0 14 .583
Utah Grizzlies 11 7 4 0 0 14 .636
Tulsa Oilers 8 6 2 0 0 12 .750
Kansas City Mavericks 10 5 5 0 0 10 .500
Wichita Thunder 9 4 5 0 0 8 .444
Rapid Cityt Rush 10 3 5 1 1 8 .400
Allen Americans 10 3 5 2 0 8 .400

Next Game: The Steelheads finish their three-game home weekend against the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday Nov. 20 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are available by calling 331-TIXS or going to idahosteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 1350AM & 95.3FM KTIK as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.

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