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PREVIEW #17: Steelheads vs. Americans

Saturday, November 27th
PREVIEW #17: Steelheads vs. Americans

IDAHO STEELHEADS (10-6-0) VS. ALLEN AMERICANS (4-7-3)

SATURDAY, NOV. 27, 2021 | 7:10 P.M. MTIDAHO CENTRAL ARENA | BOISE, IDTV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72RADIO: 95.3FM & 1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEYCLICK HERE FOR GAME NOTES

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads complete their three-game weekend against the Allen Americans and also round up their six-game homestand from Idaho Central Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have taken the home portion of their eight-game season series with the Americans with one game remaining thanks to back-to-back wins this week. The remaining five games will all come in Allen, Texas with three across New Year’s and two more in early March. The Steelheads met the Americans nine times during the 2019-20 season, earning a 4-3-2 record and heading into post-regulation play in four of their nine meetings. The Steelheads own a 20-10-5 record all-time against the Americans while going 12-5-3 at Idaho Central Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads pushed through on the wings of a hat-trick in a 3-2 overtime win over the Allen Americans on Friday night at Idaho Central Arena. On the first shift of the game, Yauheni Aksiantsiuk (0:26 1st) went from end-to-end to finish a rush and grab the Steelheads an early 1-0 lead. Though the Americans answered minutes later, the Steelheads put consistent pressure on the Americans that led to their second period tally. Aksiantsiuk (PP, 10:25 2nd) teed up a one-time shot from the right circle on the team’s fourth power play of the night, pushing the team ahead, 2-1. The Americans found a way to stay in the game with a late shorthanded goal to send the game into overtime, 2-2. Aksiantsiuk (2:45 OT) completed the hat-trick on a shot from the slot, giving the Steelheads the 3-2 win.

Home Stood: With their win last night, the Steelheads have officially claimed a win in the six-game homestand with one game remaining this evening. The Steelheads have won four of their five games during this stretch while also holding opponents to two goals or less in every contest so far and snagging just one of their four wins in post-regulation play. This continues a stellar stretch at home to start the season, now owning wins in five of their last six home games and six of eight in total to start the year. The Steelheads have kept opponents to two goals or less in six-straight home games and own the best home record in the Mountain Division. The Steelheads also play seven of their next nine games at home.

Let The Hats Fly: For the second time in as many months, the Steelheads earned a hat-trick at Idaho Central Arena with this one coming as the overtime winner. The clinching goal was the first time since Feb. 21, 2016 that the hat-trick goal (Carson McMillan) was also the game-winner in overtime. The two hat-tricks by A.J. White and Yauheni Aksiantsiuk this season is the first time since the 2015-16 season that the Steelheads had multiple hat-tricks in the same season (McMillan – two, Rob Linsmayer). The Steelheads have 44 shutouts in the ECHL era with 23 of them coming from Idaho Central Arena.

Hat-Trick Kid: Steelheads forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk scored the natural hat-trick on Friday night for the first time in his North American professional career. The Brest, Belarus native has now scored both overtime-winning goals for the Steelheads this season while also earning multi-goal games in both overtime contests as the only goal scorers on those nights. After missing four games due to injury, Aksiantsiuk has posted four points in two games this week with an assist on Wednesday night, launching him back atop the team for goals (8) and scoring (14) in 12 games played. He’s tied for the goals lead among ECHL rookies and third in scoring.

Lock & Kups-key: Steelheads goaltender Jake Kupsky put up his second 18-save win of the season in last night’s overtime win, extending his great form to start the season. The Waukesha, Wisc. native has won three of his first four games of the season but also held opponents to two goals or less in all four starts while extending that streak to six games starting on May 23, 2021 in South Carolina from last season. He leads the ECHL in goals-against average (1.48) and is in the top-10 in save percentage (.924). Along with Matt Jurusik, who has crested into the top-15 in goals-against average (2.36) and owns wins in four of six games to start the year, the par create one of the stronger goaltending tandems in the league to start the season.

Close, No Cigars: Despite playing in close games as of late, the Allen Americans have struggled to turn their results positive heading into the final game of their six-game road trip. The Americans own a 2-2-1 record in their time away from Allen Event Center, however the Americans have dropped seven of their last nine games dating back to November 6 after starting the year with points in four of five games and a 2-1-2 record. They have been held to two goals or less in back-to-back games for the first time this year while conceding four goals or more in seven of nine contests since that same date against Kansas City. The Americans will have seven of 10 games at home following tonight’s contest though own a 1-3-2 record in Texas to start their campaign.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Idaho Steelheads 16 10 6 0 0 20 .625
Utah Grizzlies 14 9 5 0 0 18 .643
Wichita Thunder 13 7 5 1 0 15 .577
Rapid City Rush 14 6 6 1 1 14 .500
Tulsa Oilers 11 6 4 0 1 13 .591
Kansas City Mavericks 15 6 8 1 0 13 .433
Allen Americans 14 4 7 3 0 11 .393

Next Game: The Steelheads open a two-game weekend against the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:05 p.m. from Cable Dahmer Arena. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on KTIK "The Ticket" (95.3FM/1350AM) and FloHockey.

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