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PREVIEW #53: Steelheads vs. Railers

Saturday, February 26th
PREVIEW #53: Steelheads vs. Railers

IDAHO STEELHEADS (29-20-3) VS. WORCESTER RAILERS (21-20-4)

SATURDAY, FEB 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 finish their three-game weekend in a rubber match against the Worcester Railers on Saturday night from Idaho Central Arena.

Head-To-Head: In the first series in franchise history, both the Steelheads and Railers own one win against the other though the Railers have one extra point heading into the weekend finale. 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 10-6-1 against North Division opponents.

Last Night: The Steelheads began a physical assault on the Railers and earned the game’s first goal as a reward on a takeaway by defenseman Darren Brady (11:32 1st) that found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. The Railers answered late in the frame, but on the next shift forward Colton Kehler (16:52 1st) pounded home a drop shot in the right circle for the 2-1 lead into the next frame. A power play goal by the Railers knotted the game a second time before forward Matt Tugnutt (PP, 8:49 2nd; PP, 14:48 2nd) put back a rebound and was open off the left post back door to take a two-goal advantage, 4-2. The Railers answered with two more power play goals to force overtime, 4-4. A penalty in the extra period opened the chance for captain A.J. White (PP, 4:43 OT) for a one-time shot for the 5-4 win.

Push To The Limit: The Steelheads offense were dominant in multiple ways over the course of Friday’s win. The 49 shots on net is the most for a game this season, breaking the two 48-shot nights on February 4 & 6 in Wichita, and is the most since the 60-shot team ECHL record on Feb. 17, 2006 against Bakersfield, which was also a 5-4 overtime win. The 21 shots are the second-most in a period this season behind the 25 shots in the third period on February 6, the five goals is the second time that mark has been hit in the last 10 games, and the three power play goals is the second-most in a game this season and first since February 5 in Wichita.

Bonus Hockey: The Steelheads once again saw another overtime result as these become more prevalent during the push for the postseason. The Steelheads have seen overtime in two of their four games so far this week while also seeing post-regulation play in five of their last 11 games (45.4%) since February 4 after going with only four overtime games through their first 41 games (9.8%). The Steelheads broke a two-game skid in games ending in overtime but have won back-to-back post-regulation games thanks to their shootout win on February 18. The Steelheads have won four of six games ending in overtime and two of three contests in a shootout and remain one of seven teams with a positive record in both overtime and shootouts separately.

Captain Clutch: Steelheads forward A.J. White had a monster game in Friday’s win culminating in the winning goal in overtime and two assists on the power play. The Dearborn, Mich. native came into Friday’s game scoreless in seven of his last eight games but posted his second three-point night of the quarter, joining his one-goal, two-assist night also on January 26 at home against Kansas City. It’s the ninth multi-point game of the season for White, which is second on the team this season behind forward Luc Brown (11 multi-point games), but his consistency has him in the lead in all scoring categories on the team (18-28–46). He is tied for 12th in the league scoring race and tied for second in power play goals (9).

Colby Jacked: Steelheads forward Colby McAuley had another strong performance on the defensive side, tallying three assists for his second multi-point game of the season. The Sherwood Park, Alb. product boosted his point streak to five games with seven points (2-5–7) since December 17, sitting two games shy of captain A.J. White’s seven-game streak from November 24 through December 10. He also owns points in 12 of 14 games since November 17, boasting 16 points (7-9–16) in that time, and in eight games at defense this year he has 10 points (3-7–10), which makes up over half of his 19 points (9-10–19).

Train Running: Despite their loss last night, the Worcester Railers have kept the train rolling in the right direction for points during this trip and their recent run. With two games left on their road trip, the Railers have points in four of five games (3-1-1-0) while also putting up points in eight of 10 games in February (6-2-2-0). In addition, they’ve kept up their hot run of points now in 12 of their last 15 games, holding a 10-3-2 record since January 22. Their charge has moved them from five games below .500 to one game above .500 and in the hunt for the fourth spot in the North Division.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 51 31 17 2 1 65 .637
Idaho Steelheads 52 29 20 2 1 61 .587
Rapid City Rush 52 26 19 4 3 59 .567
Tulsa Oilers 49 24 22 1 2 51 .520
Allen Americans 48 21 21 5 1 48 .500
Wichita Thunder 52 22 23 7 0 51 .490
Kansas City Mavericks 51 23 25 2 1 49 .480

Next Game: The Steelheads open a six-game road trip on Friday, Mar. 4 at 6:05 p.m. against the Allen Americans from the Allen Event Center. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on 95.3 The Ticket & FloHockey.tv.

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