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PREVIEW #30: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

Friday, January 7th
PREVIEW #30: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

IDAHO STEELHEADS (16-12-1) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (20-10-1)

FRIDAY, JAN. 7, 2022 | 7:10 P.M. MTIDAHO CENTRAL ARENA | BOISE, IDTV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72RADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads head into the midway game of the home portion for their six-game stretch against the Utah Grizzlies from Idaho Central Arena.

Head-To-Head: After taking the opening two games of the 16-game series, the Steelheads have slipped in back-to-back games with both teams earning one win at each side’s home building. The Steelheads and Grizzlies are in the midst of a six-game stretch over a two-week span, playing game two tonight and the midway game of the Boise segment. The Steelheads have still won 11 of 15 games against the Grizzlies since the start of the 2021-22 season and own a 108-53-26 all-time record against the Grizzlies while going 59-24-13 at home.

Last Game: A last second goal steals points away from the Steelheads in a 2-1 loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday from Idaho Central Arena. The Steelheads and Grizzlies were toiled in a back-and-forth battle throughout the game that saw the Grizzlies gain the first advantage in the second period. However, the Steelheads answered back less than one minute later thanks to a blue line shot from defenseman Michael Prapavessis (15:30 2nd) to knot the game up, 1-1. The third period remained tight, in part, because of a strong performance by goaltender Jake Kupsky, however the Grizzlies stole the game with 1.7 seconds remaining to deny the Steelheads of points and sneak away with the win.

Four Scored: The Steelheads fell in the opening weekend of the series against the Grizzlies but have now dropped four-straight games following the holiday break. In that time, the Steelheads have been held to two goals or less in three of four contests while also trailing in shots twice, which are just the fourth and fifth times this season they’ve been trailing opponent shot totals. However, the Steelheads are still averaging 33.00 shots per game and have been perfect on the penalty kill in five of their last seven games, going 17-for-20 (85.0%) since December 15. The Steelheads have also never lost back-to-back game at home this season.

Second In Command: The Steelheads second period continues to be a beacon of success for the team, and even though they allowed a goal tonight they did not change the differential. The Steelheads have allowed a league-lowest 19 goals in the second period while scoring now 33 tallies, marking a plus-14 differential following Wednesday’s game. The differential in that frame remains third-best across the ECHL, only trailing the Utah Grizzlies (plus-18) and Toledo Walleye (plus-17) in that area. The Steelheads have scored in the middle frame in seven-straight games as well as 21 of 29 contests (72.4%), re-enforcing the consistency from that period.

Kup Floweth Over: Steelheads goaltender Jake Kupsky picked up a heartfelt loss in Wednesday’s game despite playing a resounding third period to hold the team in the game. During the game, the Waukesha, Wisc. native held the Grizzlies away with a season-high 33 saves including two immaculate stops in a 12-save effort during the third period. The 33 saves is his most since May 23, 2021 in a 36-save effort with South Carolina against Orlando, however his career-high in saves came on Jan. 31, 2021 with 39 saves on 43 shots against Orlando. This season, Kupsky has held opponents to two goals or less in nine of 11 appearances, and his 1.82 goals-against average ranks second in the ECHL, only trailing teammate Matt Jurusik (1.66) as the only two netminders with a sub-2.00 average.

PaRappa the Prapper: Steelheads defenseman Michael Prapavessis has been productive offensively since his return to Boise last weekend following a two-week stint with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Since his return last Saturday, the Mississauga, Ont. product has earned points in two of his three games, picking up a power play assist on Saturday and the team’s lone goal on Wednesday. Dating back to December 12, he owns points in three of five games with goals in two of those three contests. On the season, Prapavessis has recorded 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) and sits tied for the team lead among defensemen in assists with Darren Brady while trailing him in both goals and points by just one. Prapavessis also owns career-highs in all scoring categories.

Bearing Down: Thanks to back-to-back wins, the Utah Grizzlies have not only expanded their lead atop the Mountain Division but also their recent winning form. The team has now won three of five games since the holiday break as well as nine of 11 contests since December 9 against Tulsa. While Wednesday’s win was their third time being held under three goals and first time winning in that scenario, the Grizzlies have also held opponents to three goals or less in all but one game: January 1 in Rapid City (6-4 W). The Grizzlies sit atop the Western Conference in points (41) but second in win percentage (.661), trailing only the Toledo Walleye (.731) in the determining ranking system for the 2021-22 season.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 31 20 10 1 0 41 .661
Idaho Steelheads 29 16 12 0 1 33 .569
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 finish three-game home weekend against the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 8 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  95.3FM/1350AM "The Ticket" as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Utah Grizzlies
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, October 18th
Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Utah Grizzlies
UTA Utah Grizzlies
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
Idaho Steelheads
Wednesday, October 23rd
Toledo Walleye @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
Idaho Steelheads
Friday, October 25th
Toledo Walleye @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MDT
Idaho Central Arena
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Idaho Steelheads
IDH Idaho Steelheads
Idaho Central Arena

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