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Aksiantsiuk, Jurusik, Merchant, Wardley Called to AHL Texas

Sunday, January 2nd
Aksiantsiuk, Jurusik, Merchant, Wardley Called to AHL Texas

BOISE, Idaho – Forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk and Matt Jurusik have been recalled to the Texas Stars, and forward Will Merchant and defenseman Evan Wardley have been signed to Player Try-Out (PTO) Contracts by the Texas Stars, Idaho Steelheads Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced Sunday.Aksiantsiuk, 20, makes his second recall of the season after 17 games with the Steelheads this season, tallying nine goals and seven assists for 16 points with 10 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. The Brest, Belarus native owns the fifth-best shooting percentage (20.9 percent) among ECHL rookies and is tied for third on the team in goals scored as well as fourth in scoring. He earned his first-career hat-trick in North America on November 26 against Allen and owns the fastest overtime goal in Steelheads history at seven seconds.Aksiantsiuk made his AHL debut with Texas on December 3 and has played three games this season. He was selected 162nd overall (6th Round) by the Dallas Stars in the 2020 NHL Draft.Jurusik, 24, earns his first recall with AHL Texas and second AHL call-up this season following 10 games in Idaho, boasting a 6-2-1 record with a 1.66 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage with two shutouts. The La Grange, Ill. native has back-to-back shutouts with the Steelheads and leads the ECHL in goals-against average and save percentage. He earned a shutout in his AHL debut with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on December 14 against Springfield in a 21-save effort.The 6-foot-2 goaltender was signed to an AHL contract by Texas on December 28 and was signed to a PTO with Texas during the 2020-21 season but did not see any games. In two AHL starts, Jurusik owns a 1-1-0 record with a 2.00 GAA and a .926 save pct. with one shutout.Merchant, 26, has played all 26 games with the Steelheads in 2021-22, totaling 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points with eight penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating, sitting second on the team in all major scoring categories. The Eagan, Minn. product has played all five professional seasons in Idaho and sits in the top-10 on the Steelheads ECHL all-time list: fifth in games played (240), fifth in goals (69), sixth in points (157) and seventh in assists (88). In 295 ECHL games, he owns 79 goals and 100 assists for 179 points between the Steelheads and Greenville Swamp Rabbits.This is the second time the 6-foot-1 forward has joined AHL Texas, signing with the Stars during the 2016-17 season and made his AHL debut during his lone appearance that season.Wardley, 25, earns his second AHL PTO after playing 14 games with the Steelheads this year, posting three assists with 30 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. The Vulcan, Alb. product made his Steelheads debut on Feb. 15, 2020 in Toledo and owns seven points (1-6—7) through 59 ECHL games between the Steelheads and Wheeling Nailers, where he made his professional debut in 2014-15 and played during the 2020-21 season.The 6-foot-3 defenseman made his AHL debut with the Syracuse Crunch on November 5 in his first PTO signing this season and earned his first AHL point as an assist against Cleveland on November 19, his last appearance with AHL Syracuse.The Steelheads close their three-game weekend against the Allen Americans today at 3:05 p.m. MT at Allen Event Center and come back to Idaho Central Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:10 p.m. against the Utah Grizzlies. Single-game tickets are available for all home games during the 2021-22 regular season by going to idahosteelheads.com or calling 331-TIXS! Make sure to secure your FloSports subscription for the 2021-22 season to lock in all Steelheads games and action from around the ECHL.

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