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PREVIEW #38: Steelheads vs. Mavericks

Wednesday, January 26th
PREVIEW #38: Steelheads vs. Mavericks

IDAHO STEELHEADS (20-16-1) VS. KANSAS CITY MAVERICKS (18-18-1)

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 26, 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 close their six-game road trip, the three-in-three weekend as well as the season series with the Rapid City Rush from The Monument.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Mavericks split their two-game weekend in December with the Steelheads earning points in both games heading into the middle sector of their seven-game season set. Over their last two season series, the Steelheads have yet to lose in regulation, holding a 5-0-2 record while winning all three meetings in Boise. The Steelheads have also won 13 of 19 games head-to-head, boasting a 13-4-2 record as well as a 9-1-0 record at Idaho Central Arena.

Last Game: The Steelheads slipped in the final game of the weekend and road trip, 3-1, to the Rapid City Rush on Sunday evening from The Monument. The Steelheads started off strong with production and opportunities, including six shots on a first period power play, however the Rush earned the first tally late in that frame to take the 1-0 lead. Early in the second, the Steelheads answered back thanks to forward Matt Tugnutt (1:12 2nd) on a snipe from the left dot to tie the game, 1-1. The Rush answered minutes later on a defensive shot to snag the lead heading into the final frame. Despite the Steelheads’ chances in the third period, they could not muscle a shot in, and a broken stick late led to the empty net goal to seal the 3-1 result.

Long Way Home: The Steelheads return to Idaho Central Arena on the bottom end of a six-game road trip and 12-game stretch with a majority of contests away from Boise. The Steelheads completed the road trip with a 2-4-0-0 record, winning the middle game of each weekend series though only being outscored 19-17 thanks to three games with three or more goals scored. Since the team returned from the holidays, the Steelheads have dropped eight of their last 12 games with a 2-7-0-0 record on the road. However, the Steelheads earned wins in two of three games at home during that stretch and are also 13-5-0-0 at Idaho Central Arena this season.

North & South: The Steelheads’ six-game road trip saw the special teams groups go in opposite direction in that stretch including last weekend against a Rapid City special teams that mirrored that of the Steelheads. The power play has been held scoreless in three-straight games (10 attempts) for the first time this season, breaking a tie of only two games without goals done twice (October 30-November 4: 0-for-8; December 15-17: 0-for-3), and they’ve also were held away from goals in four of six contests on the road trip (3-for-24, 12.5%). However, the penalty kill remains consistently strong, holding teams to just one goal in six games (16-for-17, 94.1%) and rebounding from a stretch where they allowed power play goals in four of six to open the post-holiday run.

Back End Strength: Despite the team’s recent slide, the Steelheads goaltending tandem of Jake Kupsky and Colton Point have been consistently strong, holding the Steelheads in reach of positive results not just recently but also throughout the year. The pair have been holding opponents with a combined 2.85 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage with one shutout despite holding a 4-8-0 record since December 27, and in five of those eight losses the Steelheads conceded an empty net goal to spread the final result. Both Kupsky (.917) and Point (.900) are above a .900 save percentage individually in that time and have allowed 17 goals each with six starts apiece though Point (3-3-0) has a better record than Kupsky (1-5-0) in that span.

The Lone Tug: Steelheads forward Matt Tugnutt earned the lone tally in Sunday’s loss to the Rush, earning just his third goal of the season despite strong work off the scoresheet. It’s the first goal netted by the Portland, Maine product since his first two professional goals on December 4 in Kansas City as part of a 5-0 shutout win, and his point production during his first professional season has come in bunches with points in three of eight games recently as well as four points in four games following his first two goals. On the season, Tugnutt owns eight points (3 goals, 5 assists).

Beef & Braun: The Kansas City Mavericks have developed a reputation for a rough-and-tumble brand of hockey that has been working for them as of late to earn more wins and positive results. The Mavericks lead the ECHL in penalty minutes (828) as they enter the second half of their season, boasting a gap of 172 more penalty minutes than the next highest team (Wheeling Nailers - 656), which is nearly three games’ worth of time in the box. However, the Mavericks sit in a share of fifth place in the Mountain Division with wins in three of their last five games as well as seven of 11 contests since December 31 while never sitting more than three games below the .500 mark on the season.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 39 25 12 1 1 52 .667
Tulsa Oilers 35 20 14 0 1 41 .586
Idaho Steelheads 37 20 16 0 1 41 .554
Rapid City Rush 39 19 15 3 2 43 .551
Allen Americans 33 14 14 4 1 33 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 37 18 18 1 0 37 .500
Wichita Thunder 38 13 20 5 0 31 .408

Next Game: The Steelheads and Mavericks continue their three-game weekend on Friday, Jan. 28 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 95.3FM/1350AM "The Ticket" as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.

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Wednesday, February 28th
Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM MST
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Saturday, March 2nd
Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads
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