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PREVIEW #28: Steelheads vs. Americans

Sunday, January 2nd
PREVIEW #28: Steelheads vs. Americans

IDAHO STEELHEADS (16-10-1) @ ALLEN AMERICANS (11-9-3)

SUNDAY, JAN. 2, 2022 | 3:05 P.M. MTALLEN EVENT CENTER | ALLEN, TXRADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads conclude their three-game, three-day set against the Allen Americans from Allen Event Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have dropped three-straight games against the Americans and have fallen behind the season set with three games remaining, holding a 2-3-0 record. The Americans have points in five of six games in the series with all three left coming in Texas after the Steelheads won two of three at home to open the series. The Americans have won eight of the last 14 meetings head-to-head since the 2019-20 season, however the Steelheads own the franchise series with a 20-13-5 overall record but are 8-7-2 at Allen Event Center.

Last Night: The Steelheads fell 3-2 in a heartbreaker to the Americans from Allen Event Center. The Steelheads struck early in a strong possessive game thanks to forward Will Merchant (3:06 1st) to take the swift 1-0 lead. The Americans rebounded well on the power play throughout the night, answering later in the frame to tie the contest into the middle frame. In the second period, Steelheads forward A.J. White (PP, 9:45 2nd) finished off a stretch pass from defenseman Michael Prapavessis to answer on their own man-advantage to take the 2-1 edge. Though the Americans had a goal called back late in the frame, they capitalized on the power play early in the third period and netted the game-winner with under two minutes remaining to sneak away with the 3-2 win.

Deuces Down: The Steelheads head into the final game of the weekend series looking to pick up points but also avoid adding three-straight losses following the holidays. Last night’s result marked the third time this season the Steelheads have dropped consecutive games with the last coming November 4-6 in Tulsa, but the Steelheads had yet to drop games in back-to-back calendar days. While the Steelheads have lost three-straight on the road before, they haven’t lost three-straight games overall yet this year. The team has won both games following consecutive losses (2-1 OTW vs. Rapid City; 2-1 W @ Tulsa).

Odds & Ends: The third period comeback by Allen marked a rare occurrence for the Steelheads this season. It marked just the second time this year that the Steelheads were not able to win after leading heading into the final frame, joining the 5-4 loss to the Rapid City Rush back on October 29 at home. The result was also just the fourth time the Steelheads fell after being tied after one period as well as second in as many nights, however the team has done well in those situations consistently down the stretch. The Steelheads are 9-4-1 when tied after the first period and 15-2-0-0 when leading following the second period.

The White Knight: Steelheads forward A.J. White has been discussed in numerous ways lately, but his recent performance keeps him in the conversation after another multi-point game in last night’s loss. The Dearborn, Mich. native is on a four-game point streak, boasting eight points (3-5–8) in that time along with three multi-point games. The performance rivals his eight-game point streak in December 2019, when he earned five multi-point games and 15 points (4-11–15), but his recent run continues a season-long strength of form. He leads the Steelheads in all major scoring categories (11-16–27) as well as in power play goals (5).

Prap Daddy: Steelheads defenseman Michael Prapavessis had quite the day on and off the ice yesterday in his return to the lineup. After arriving from his PTO with the Ontario Reign less than two hours before the game, he added a power play assist on a stretch pass to forward A.J. White and made an immediate impact. That assist was his 10th of the season, which matches the most among Steelheads defensemen with Darren Brady through 17 games played and is part of a career-best season in all scoring categories (2-9–11). Prapavessis returns after playing three games with AHL Ontario in his third AHL stint of his career.

Keep Americans Great: The Allen Americans continued their strong form by taking the second game of the weekend in as many chances. The Americans own their second three-game win streak of the season with the other coming within the last seven games, and they’ve also taken seven of nine games since defeating the Steelheads on November 27. While it’s the first time they’ve been held under four goals in their recent winning stretch, they’re two games above .500 for the first time this season. The Americans have moved out of the bottom of the Mountain Division and own the fourth-best win percentage among those seven teams.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 30 19 10 1 0 39 .650
Idaho Steelheads 27 16 10 0 1 33 .611
Rapid City Rush 30 13 13 2 2 30 .500
Tulsa Oilers 25 14 10 0 1 29 .580
Kansas City Mavericks 28 13 14 1 0 27 .482
Allen Americans 23 11 9 3 0 25 .543
Wichita Thunder 29 10 15 4 0 24 .414

Next Game: The Steelheads open a three-game home weekend against the Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are available by going to idahosteelheads.com or calling 208-331-TIXS. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on KTIK "The Ticket" (95.3FM/1350AM) as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.

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