IDAHO STEELHEADS (26-17-2) VS. TULSA OILERS (23-18-2)
FRIDAY, FEB 11, 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 continue three-game home series against the Tulsa Oilers from Idaho Central Arena.
Head-To-Head: After dropping the first two games of the season series, the Steelheads have won back-to-back contests to level the six-game season series with two games remaining. The Steelheads can claim the home portion of the season set outright with a win tonight before the series finale on Saturday. Despite dropping eight of their last 12 meetings against the Oilers since the 2019-20 season, the Steelheads have the advantage in the Mountain Division standings and the overall series, taking a 19-14-2 record against the Oilers into tonight along with an 8-6-1 record at Idaho Central Arena.
Last Game: The Steelheads kicked off their three-game weekend with a 2-0 win over the Oilers on Wednesday night from Idaho Central Arena. The Steelheads found a rejuvenated feel to start the game with early chances, and forward Will Merchant (1:27 1st) capitalized on his first shift back with the team to take a 1-0 lead. While both teams stepped up with pace throughout the first period, it was Merchant (SH, 15:12 1st) to score a second time on a shorthanded breakaway to double the advantage, 2-0. The pace of play slowed in the second and third periods, turning into a defensive and goaltending battle led by Colton Point with another starring effort to keep the Oilers at bay and garner his second-straight home shutout and the win.
Seventh Heaven: With their win, the Steelheads have extended their home winning streak to seven-straight games while being perfect in their last 34 calendar days since January 6 against Utah. While the Steelheads earned their fewest goals during their home win streak, they’ve outscored their opponents 31-15 with shutouts in back-to-back games and holding opponents to three goals or less in six of seven contests. It’s the longest active home win streak in the ECHL and moves the Steelheads to an 18-5-0-0 record, which is tied for the most home wins and sits only behind the Reading Royals (.843) in win percentage (.783) at home.
Clean Sheet Redux: The Steelheads have earned back-to-back home shutouts thanks to their win now with shutouts on consecutive Wednesdays. The shutout is the seventh of the season, marking the most since the 2017-18 when the Steelheads earned eight shutouts and is one away from that year for being the most in a single season in the team’s ECHL era. Goaltender Colton Point now has three-consecutive shutouts, all coming in the 2022 calendar year, with three of his four shutouts coming with 25 saves on 25 shots. He has now been perfect in two-straight home games as well as the last 72:38 minutes at Idaho Central Arena, and he owns a 4-1-0 record in Boise this season.
Merch Delivered: Steelheads forward Will Merchant was on fire in his return to the lineup, not only scoring in his first game back but also earning the only two goals and scoring a shorthanded goal. The Eagan, Minn. product returned from the AHL’s Texas Stars on Tuesday and scored his second-game winner on his first shift, and the shorthanded goal is his second of the season, tying him with forward Shawn McBride for the team lead. Dating back to his last Steelheads game on January 1, Merchant has three goals over his last two games and has points in four of his last five games with four goals and two assists. He owns 23 points (12-11–23) in 28 games this season, and he became the fifth player in the ECHL era to record 70 career goals (71).
Odds & Ends: Steelheads forward Luc Brown and defenseman Max Martin were the only other two players to record points in Wednesday’s win with each assisting on the game’s opening goal. Brown’s assist broke a three-game scoreless drought and moved him to 24 assists on the season and keeping him atop the rookie lead for assists as well as second overall in scoring (38), only trailing Tulsa’s Jack Doremus (40). Martin got back on the scoresheet with another assist to tab helpers in six of his last seven games since January 28 and leads the team in scoring at seven assists in that time while moving to nine assists in 14 games this season.
Oil Can, Please: The Tulsa Oilers suffered just their second loss in a shutout against this season, marking one of the rare occasions the team has not been able to produce a tally coming off the end of their three-game point streak. Their only other time doing so was on January 16 in an 8-0 home loss to the Allen Americans sandwiched between two overtime wins. However, the Oilers have now dropped back-to-back contests as well as five of their last seven since January 28, being held to a little under their season average at 2.71 goals per game and being held to two goals or less in three of their last five games. The Oilers are in the midst of a six-game road trip that includes three games against Central Division opponents.
2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:
|Rapid City Rush
|Kansas City Mavericks
Next Game: The Steelheads and Oilers finish their three-game weekend on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are available by going to idahosteelheads.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 95.3 The Ticket as well as 7:00 p.m. on Sparklight Ch. 72 & FloHockey.