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PREVIEW #52: Steelheads vs. Railers

Friday, February 25th
PREVIEW #52: Steelheads vs. Railers

IDAHO STEELHEADS (28-20-3) VS. WORCESTER RAILERS (21-20-3)

FRIDAY, FEB 25, 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 host the Worcester Railers for the second of a three-game weekend from Idaho Central Arena.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads dropped their first ever meeting with the Railers in the opening of the three-game weekend. This is the second home series against a North Division opponent after hosting the Adirondack Thunder in mid-November and taking two of three games. Including their games against the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, Elmira Jackals, Reading Royals and Trenton Devils, the Steelheads are 9-6-1 against North Division opponents.

Last Game: The Steelheads fell 4-2 to the Worcester Railers on Wednesday night from Idaho Central Arena. The Railers came out fast and strong to open the game, notching the game’s first goal within the first two minutes to take the initial 1-0 lead. The Steelheads found their legs as the frame went on and into the next period, but the Railers earned two more to triple the advantage, 3-0. The comeback bid began with a breakaway goal from forward Colby McAuley (16:33 2nd) coming out of the penalty box to get on the board, 3-1. Steelheads forward Mason Mitchell (10:24 3rd) added another on the way back on a deflection for a one-goal game, however an added tally by the Railers created enough of a cushion for the 4-2 result.

All Good Things...:The Steelheads saw their nine-game home point streak come to an end in Wednesday’s loss. During their point streak, the Steelheads went 8-0-1 since January 7 with their lone loss coming in overtime on February 11 against Tulsa. The Steelheads held opponents to three goals or less in eight of those nine games and even recorded a season-best nine goals on January 26. The Steelheads are 8-2-1 at home since the start of 2022 and still own the second-most wins at home (19) in the ECHL, only trailing Jacksonville (20) in that category.

Power Outage: The Steelheads power play has found difficulty in keeping pace as of late with another silencing on Wednesday. The power play is now scoreless in five-straight games (15 attempts) in the longest outage of the year as well as in six of their last seven games (1-for-22, 4.55%). This also extends to the team’s home success with a goose egg in four of their last five home contests since the start of February (1-for-17, 5.88%). Despite the downturn of consistency, the Steelheads still remain tied for sixth across the ECHL at 21.9% on the season and have power play goals in four of eight at home in the 2022 calendar year.

Answering The McAul: Steelheads forward Colby McAuley has been a catalyst offensively for the team not only since his return from AHL Hershey but throughout the season. The Sherwood Park, Alb. native is on a four-game point streak dating back to December 17 with four points (2-2–4), taking over as the longest active point streak for the Steelheads. Despite missing 24 games from AHL duties, he also owns points in 11 of his last 13 games since November 17, boasting 13 points (7-6–13) and making up the bulk of his total scoring. McAuley owns 16 points (9-7–16) through 24 games this season and is in the top-five in points per game (0.67) on the team.

Laying The Bricks: Steelheads forward Mason Mitchell has found his scoring touch since joining the team from Cincinnati via trade in January. The Calgary, Alb. native has six of his 10 goals on the season over his 17 games with the Steelheads since January 21 as well as goals in his last six games with points earned. He has been consistent over the course of the season with both the Steelheads and Cyclones, earning 10 points in 17 games for each team while earning more goals with Idaho than in Cincinnati. That makes 20 points (10-10–20) in 34 games for Mitchell this season.

Choo Choo: The Worcester Railers continue one of their best stretches of the season, earning their fifth win over their last six games since February 12. Even further along, the Railers have points in 11 of their last 14 games since January 22 with a 10-3-1 record and one of the best recent stretches across the ECHL. The Railers have scored four or more goals in nine of 10 games as well as in six-straight contests, averaging 4.64 goals per game while holding opponents to two goals or less in eight of their last nine games since the start of February. The Railers share the final playoff spot in the North Division with the Maine Mariners, each sitting one game above .500.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 50 30 17 2 1 63 .630
Idaho Steelheads 51 28 20 2 1 59 .578
Rapid City Rush 51 25 19 4 3 57 .559
Tulsa Oilers 48 24 21 1 2 51 .531
Allen Americans 48 21 21 5 1 48 .500
Wichita Thunder 51 22 22 7 0 51 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 50 23 24 2 1 49 .490

Next Game: The Steelheads andRailers close their weekend series on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:10 p.m. from Idaho Central Arena. Tickets are available by calling 331-TIXS or 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.tv.

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