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PREVIEW #35: Steelheads @ Rush

Friday, January 21st
PREVIEW #35: Steelheads @ Rush

IDAHO STEELHEADS (19-14-1) VS. RAPID CITY RUSH (17-14-5)

FRIDAY, JAN. 21, 2022 | 7:05 P.M. MTMONUMENT ICE ARENA | RAPID CITY, SDRADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads head into the back end of their six-game road trip with the first of three games against the Rapid City Rush from Monument Ice Arena.

Head-To-Head: Heading into the final weekend of the 11-game season series, the Steelheads have taken five of eight games with a three-point lead following wins in two of three games in December. In their last trip to Rapid City, the Steelheads took two of three games, book ending the Rush’s lone win in the midway game. The Steelheads and Rush have split their last 18 games down the middle since the 2019-20 season, and the Steelheads are 47-21-5 overall against the Rush as well as 24-11-1 at Monument Ice Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads slipped in the third during a 6-3 loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Monday afternoon from Maverik Center. The Grizzlies put up pressure early and earned the first goal of the game shorthanded in the first period to take the advantage into the second period. The Steelheads jumped back in with back-to-back goals including a deflection from forward Luc Brown (PP, 0:19 2nd) on the second shift of the period and a one-timer by forward David Norris (6:22 2nd) to gain the 2-1 lead. However, the Grizzlies answered with back-to-back goals within one minute of each other to take back the lead, 3-2. The Grizzlies then scored three goals in six minutes to open up the game, and though Steelheads defenseman Casey Johnson (9:52 3rd) added one back later in the game, the Grizzlies took the 6-3 result.

Six of Nine: The Steelheads head into the final weekend of another long stretch with a majority games away from home, specifically nine of 12 games coming out of the holiday break. During their first nine games, the Steelheads haven’t had the same luck leading into the break, dropping six of nine games with a 2-1-0 record at home and a 1-5-0 record on the road. During that stint, the Steelheads have been out shot in five games though only allowed that three times in their first 26 games, but they’ve been averaging exactly three goals per game, the same as their season average, and have scored in seven of nine games on the power play (9-for-33, 27.3%). The Steelheads will have one more stretch like this from mid-February through mid-March.

Pendulum Swing: The Steelheads have seen the pendulum shift on a per-period basis from the late-game to earlier heroics over time. While the second period continues to be the team’s best asset (+14 goal differential), the first period has taken over the third period as the team’s next highest scoring stretch. Since December 31, the Steelheads have outscored opponents 7-4 in the first period but have been outscored 7-14 in the third period despite trading three-goal frames in back-to-back games with Utah. The Steelheads own a +9 goal differential in the opening frame despite having one fewer goal (28) compared to the third period (29), where the team now trails opponents by two tallies.

Express Deliveries: Steelheads forward Luc Brown has been consistently moving up the league’s scoring rankings thanks to another strong set of games. The Napanee, Ont. native is coming off back-to-back multi-point games against Utah, posting four points (goal, 3 assists) while also earning points in seven of the team’s last nine games with 13 points (4-9–13) since December 31 to lead all Steelheads skaters in that time. His uptick in production in the second quarter of the season has moved him into second on the team in all scoring categories (12-18–30), only trailing A.J. White (13-21–34) in those situations. Because of his work, he leads all ECHL rookies in scoring, shares the rookie lead in assists, sits second in both power play goals (5) and power play points (12), and is now tied for 14th in scoring across the league.

Rapidly Climbing: The Rapid City Rush embark on the second half of their 2021-22 season with their first game of the stretch tonight. The Rush have battled throughout the year for playoff positioning but have never sat more than two games below .500 this season and now sit three game above that mark, which is their best win percentage of the season. To get there, the Rush have won three-straight games for the second time this season and have points in eight of their last 10 games since the holiday break, boasting a 6-2-2 record with two different three-game point streaks and a three-game road sweep of Wichita last week. The Rush are tied with the Steelheads in points but have the fifth-best win percentage in the Mountain Division.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 36 22 12 1 1 46 .639
Idaho Steelheads 34 19 14 0 1 39 .574
Rapid City Rush 36 17 14 3 2 39 .542
Tulsa Oilers 32 17 14 0 1 35 .565
Kansas City Mavericks 34 17 16 1 0 35 .515
Allen Americans 30 14 11 4 1 33 .550
Wichita Thunder 35 12 19 4 0 28 .400

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush continue their weekend set on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7:05 p.m. from Monument Ice Arena. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 95.3FM/1350AM "The Ticket" & FloHockey.

Upcoming Home Games

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

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