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PREVIEW #27: Steelheads vs. Americans

Saturday, January 1st
PREVIEW #27: Steelheads vs. Americans

IDAHO STEELHEADS (16-9-1) @ ALLEN AMERICANS (10-9-3)

SATURDAY, JAN. 1, 2022 | 6:05 P.M. MTALLEN EVENT CENTER | ALLEN, TXRADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads begin the 2022 calendar year with the second of three games against the Allen Americans from Allen Event Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Americans have split their first four meetings of the season series now with four games remaining this season. The Steelheads took the opening two games in Boise as part of the only home weekend but have dropped two-straight since November 27 now with four more road contests through March. The Americans have taken the slight edge over the Steelheads, winning seven of the last 13 contests since the 2019-20 season, however the Steelheads are 20-11-5 overall against the Americans with a 8-6-2 road record.

Last Night: The Steelheads struck first but fell 4-1 to the Americans on Friday night from Allen Event Center. Scoring didn’t pick up until the second period, but the Steelheads found the opening strike. Forward Luc Brown (PP, 3:15 2nd) was led in low by forward A.J. White to push it through and connect for the 1-0 lead. However, the Americans would tie the game on the power play later in the frame to force a stalemate in to the final frame. The Americans then scored two breakaway goals and sealed off the contest with an empty net tally in the 4-1 result.

December To Remember: While the Steelheads may have closed out 2021 on a sour note, the month as a whole was still the strongest to-date. In the nine games played for December, the Steelheads earned a 6-2-0-1 record with points in seven of nine contests and a .722 win percentage. During the month, the Steelheads won five of six games at home while holding opponents to two goals or less in regulation during eight-straight games to kick off the month and outscoring their opponents 27-13 with two shutouts. The Steelheads have not sat below second in the Mountain division since the end of November heading into the New Year.

The White Knight: Steelheads forward A.J. White finished the homestand with back-to-back multi-point games thanks to an assist and power play goal on December 19. The Dearborn, Mich. native has had his strongest start to a season in his career, leading the Steelheads in all scoring categories with 24 points (10-14--24) along with four power play goals and eight power play points. He needs just one assist to reach 100 for his Steelheads career, which would mark the fifth player in the ECHL era to reach that milestone. He would join Marty Flichel (260), Darrell Hay (197), Jefferson Dahl (133) and Lance Galbraith (127) at that plateau.

Brown Delivers: Steelheads forward Luc Brown came up with the lone goal in Friday’s loss to the Americans, continuing a consistant run of form. The Napanee, Ont. native has earned points in six of his last nine games with goals in five of those contests, posting six goals and eight points throughout December and earning the second-most points on the team during that time. His power play accumen has been on display as well throughout the season, now sharing the team lead in power play goals (4) with A.J. White while sitting second in power play points (8). Brown sits tied for 10th in scoring among ECHL rookies, and his 87 shots is third-best among rookie skaters.

Keep Americans Great: The Allen Americans closed out 2021 with their continuing rising form since last meeting the Steelheads. Including the New Year’s Eve win, the Americans have won five of their last six games as well as six of eight since defeating the Steelheads on November 27. While their performances in scoring have been up-and-down, they’ve still earned four goals or more in all six of those wins even with four of those victories coming against the Wichita Thunder. With their run of form, the Americans have moved one game above .500 for the second time this season with the first coming on November 5 when they owned a 2-1-2-0 record after, once again, taking down Wichita. Last night was also just their third home win of the season.

Troo Shot: Americans forward Branden Troock has been on display throughout December with another goal earned in Friday’s win over the Steelheads. That marks three-straight games with points (4-3–7) as well as goals in back-to-back contests. Since missing six games in the middle of November, the Edmonton, Alb. native has points in five of seven contests since the start of December, boasting 13 points (5-8–13) with four multi-point contests and a hat-trick on December 29 in Wichita. On the season, Troock owns 19 points (7-12–19) and is tied for third on the active roster in scoring.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 29 18 10 1 0 37 .638
Idaho Steelheads 26 16 9 0 1 33 .635
Rapid City Rush 29 13 12 2 2 30 .517
Tulsa Oilers 25 14 10 0 1 29 .580
Kansas City Mavericks 27 12 14 1 0 25 .463
Allen Americans 22 10 9 3 0 23 .523
Wichita Thunder 28 10 15 3 0 23 .411

Next Game: The Steelheads close their weekend against the Allen Americans on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 3:05 p.m. MT from Allen Event Center. Coverage begins at 2:45 p.m. on KTIK "The Ticket" (95.3FM/1350AM) & FloHockey.

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