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PREVIEW #29: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

Wednesday, January 5th
PREVIEW #29: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

IDAHO STEELHEADS (16-11-1) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (19-10-1)

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 5, 2022 | 7:10 P.M. MTIDAHO CENTRAL ARENA | BOISE, IDTICKETS: CLICK HERETV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72RADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads open a six-game stretch against the Utah Grizzlies with three-game series at each home building beginning tonight from Idaho Central Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads have taken two of the first three games in the 16-game season series against the Grizzlies, winning their lone home meeting at Idaho Central Arena on Opening Night and splitting the two games in Utah in consecutive days. The Steelheads have won 11 of their last 14 meetings with the Grizzlies dating back to the 2019-20 season, only falling on Nov. 1, 2019 (5-4 L), Jan. 20, 2020 (2-1 SOL) and Oct. 24, 2021 (4-0 L). The Steelheads are 108-53-26 all-time against the Grizzlies in the ECHL era as well as 50-29-13 on the road.

Last Game: The Steelheads slipped 5-3 to the Allen Americans in the final game of the weekend set on Sunday from Allen Event Center. The Steelheads netted their fifth-straight game with the opening tally late in the first period thanks to forward Zack Andrusiak (17:01 1st) on a rebound to take the 1-0 lead. Andrusiak (PP, 6:07 2nd) added his second tally on a breakaway through the middle to double the advantage before the Americans struck with two goals in three minutes for a 2-2 game. Steelheads forward Luc Brown (12:14 2nd) cashed in on a rebound off the left post for the slight edge, 3-2, heading into the third period. An early tally for the Americans plus an odd bounce that found the net and an empty net tally sealed off the 5-3 result.

Three No Charm: For the first time this season, the Steelheads have dropped three-consecutive games following their loss on Sunday in Allen. It’s the first time the team has done so in the same weekend or against the same opponent, but the Steelheads have dropped three-straight on the road prior to this: October 24 through November 6, when the Steelheads fell in one game to Utah and two in Tulsa. On the positive side, the Steelheads are averaging 34.67 shots per game over their recent slip and have scored power play goals now in four-straight games dating back to December 19, going 4-for-17 (23.5%) in that time. The Steelheads are in the midst of a stretch with nine of 12 games on the road, and this weekend will be the only home stint in that time.

Home, Sweet Home: The Steelheads enter the first of six games through January at Idaho Central Arena, a place they have found resounding success so far. Through 15 games played in Boise, the Steelheads own an 11-4-0-0 record, which is the best in the ECHL by win percentage (.733) as well as a share of the most home wins with the Jacksonville Icemen. During their last home stand of six games, the Steelheads won five of six contests while scoring three goals or more in all five wins and outscoring their opponents 19-6 with two shutouts. The Steelheads are 4-2-0-0 when opening a home weekend as well as 4-1-0-0 in Wednesday games overall.

Return of A-Aron: The Steelheads added another familiar face to the lineup on Tuesday with the signing of defenseman Aaron Harstad following the release of Jeremy Yablonski. Harstad, 29, is in his third stint with the Steelheads and owns 26 points (5-21–26) with 78 penalty minutes and a plus-26 rating through 68 games. He was named to the 2017 ECHL All-Star Classic and was a member of the team that reverse-swept the Allen Americans in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 6-foot-2 defenseman most recently played in 2019-20 with the Florida Everblades and owns 62 points (11-51–62) with 236 penalty minutes in 162 games between the AHL, ECHL and Denmark through five professional seasons.

Going Streaking: Two Steelheads forwards have hit hot streaks despite the sour results in Allen last weekend. Forward A.J. White extended his point streak to five-straight games with nine points (3-6–9) as well as three multi-point games. His five-game assist streak is also one shy of his season-best six-game stretch from November 26 through December 10 when he earned six helpers. Forward Luc Brown is also on a three-game point streak for the second time this season with four points (2-2–4) over the weekend and has scored goals in six of his last eight games with points. While he’s not on a streak, defenseman Matt Stief has been consistently getting assists with helpers in four of his last five games since December 17, earning four assists with three on the power play.

Bear Necessities: The Utah Grizzlies have cemented their place atop the Mountain Division for the time being with a strong run of form heading into this six-game stretch. The Grizzlies have won nine of their last 12 games since December 6 following their lone three-game losing skid. In that time, the Grizzlies are averaging 3.42 goals per game and have been held under three goals just twice: December 27 (3-0 L) and December 31 (3-1 L), both against the Rapid City Rush. The Grizzlies split their four-game week against the Rush coming out of the holiday break while conceding points in three of four games thanks to an overtime result on December 29 (4-3 OTW).

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 30 19 10 1 0 39 .650
Idaho Steelheads 28 16 11 0 1 33 .589
Rapid City Rush 30 13 13 2 2 30 .500
Tulsa Oilers 26 14 11 0 1 29 .558
Allen Americans 24 12 9 3 0 27 .563
Kansas City Mavericks 28 13 14 1 0 27 .482
Wichita Thunder 29 10 15 4 0 24 .414

Next Game: The Steelheads continue their three-game home weekend against the Utah Grizzlies on Friday, Jan. 7 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are single-seats only but 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.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Wednesday, March 20th
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, March 22nd
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
Idaho Steelheads
Saturday, March 23rd
Tulsa Oilers @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena

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