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PREVIEW #14: Steelheads vs. ADK Thunder

Saturday, November 20th
PREVIEW #14: Steelheads vs. ADK Thunder

IDAHO STEELHEADS (8-5-0) VS. ADIRONDACK THUNDER (4-6-1)

SATURDAY, NOV. 20, 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 complete 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 officially earned the win for the season series against the Thunder and have won four-straight meetings since the 2016-17 season, taking four 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 9-4-1 all-time against North Division opponents with another three-game series against the Worcester Railers later this year.

Last Night: The Steelheads offense came alive in the second half of the game in a 5-1 win over the Thunder on Friday night from Idaho Central Arena. Scoring didn’t pick up until the second period starting with Steelheads forward Colton Kehler (8:20 2nd) on a shot off the pads for the 1-0 lead. The Steelheads then scored two goals in less than one minute thanks to defenseman Darren Brady (12:36 2nd) followed by forward A.J. White (13:18 2nd) to triple the lead, 3-0. In the third period, two more fell the home side’s way when forward Zach Walker (6:43 3rd) converted on a 2-on-0 break before forward Will Merchant (15:39 3rd) earned his own tally on a shot from the right circle to stretch the lead to 5-0. The Thunder scored in the final 40 seconds to break the shutout, but the Steelheads still earned the win.

Super Superlatives: For the first time this season, the Steelheads earned their third-straight win thanks to their victory on Friday while continuing a strong recent stretch. In their winning streak, the Steelheads have outscored their opponents 11-2, posted either 37 or 38 shots in all three games, and held opponents to just 22.67 shots per game. Since November 7, the Steelheads have won five of their last six games against three different opponents while keeping other teams to two goals or less in all five wins and notching three goals in four of those five wins.

Middle Men: A strong second period performance by the Steelheads kickstarted the offense in last night’s win but follows a continual trend for the team this season. The team’s 18 goals in the second period is the most across the ECHL while their plus-8 scoring difference in the frame also leads the league ahead of both Toledo (plus-6) and Utah (plus-6), who have an identical 17 goals scored and 11 goals allowed in the middle frame. Moreover, the Steelheads have not allowed a second period goal in three-straight games and own a 8-2-0 record when they score in the second period, only falling on October 29 (5-4 L vs. RC) and November 6 (4-1 L @ TUL). The Steelheads are outscoring their opponents 15-3 in the second period when the team wins that game. 

One For The Ages: Steelheads forward Zach Walker scored his first goal of the season as well as his first in the ECHL for his career in the third period of tonight’s win. Walker made history with his goal, marking the first time in Steelheads history that a native of Boise, Idaho has scored a goal for the Steelheads as well as the first to score at Idaho Central Arena. Walker had earned the first assist for a Boise native in Idaho on Opening Night (October 22), and he already has a share of the most power play assists (3) in the early section of the season. Walker owns five points (goal, 4 assists) in 10 games this season.

Going Streaking: Four different Steelheads players are sitting on scoring streaks heading into tonight’s game. Forward Will Merchant owns a team-best five-game point streak thanks to his two points last night, posting seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in that stretch while also continuing his assist streak to a share of the team-high four games (4 assists). Forward A.J. White is right on his heels, owning a personal-best four-game point streak with six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in an 8-day span, and the pair sit atop the team scoring list with Merchant (6-6–12) leading in scoring alone but sharing the goal lead with White (6-5–11). Also starting to streak are forward Colton Kehler (2-1–3) and defenseman Darren Brady (1-3–4), each of whom are boasting a three-game streak.

Thor(n) In The Sides: For the first time this season, the Adirondack Thunder lost back-to-back games in regulation with last night’s loss. Previously, the team had won in four-straight games immediately following a regulation loss and had only lost back-to-back games once: October 30 (3-2 OTL vs. REA) and November 5 (4-1 L @ NFL). The Thunder have been held to one goal or been shut out in four of their six regulation losses while also conceding four goals or more in the same number of results. This is their sixth-straight game against a Mountain Division opponent, and the Thunder are 2-3-0 between the Utah Grizzlies (2-1-0) and the Steelheads (0-2-0).

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 13 8 5 0 0 16 .615
Utah Grizzlies 12 7 5 0 0 14 .583
Tulsa Oilers 9 6 2 0 1 13 .722
Kansas City Mavericks 11 6 5 0 0 12 .545
Rapid City Rush 11 4 5 1 1 10 .455
Wichita Thunder 10 5 5 0 0 10 .500
Allen Americans 11 3 6 2 0 8 .364

Next Game: The Steelheads open a three-game weekend against the Allen Americans on Wednesday, Nov. 24 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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