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PREVIEW #56: Steelheads @ K-Wings

Tuesday, March 8th
PREVIEW #56: Steelheads @ K-Wings

IDAHO STEELHEADS (29-23-3) @ KALAMAZOO WINGS (25-26-0)

TUESDAY, MAR. 8, 2022 | 5:00 P.M. MTWINGS EVENT CENTER | KALAMAZOO, MIRADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight's Game: The Steelheads open a four-game stretch through the Central Division with their lone meeting against the Kalamazoo Wings from Wings Event Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and K-Wings have played each other just four times in their history with their last meeting as the only road meeting on Nov. 4, 2018 in a 3-1 result in favor of the K-Wings. The previous matchups all came in Boise with the K-Wings taking two of three games from Jan. 10-13, 2018, slighting the Steelheads to a 1-2-1 record all-time. This is the first Central Division opponent seen this season, and in regular season play against the division the Steelheads hold a 19-9-2 record combined, including the two games with the Toledo Storm in the mid-2000s.

Last Game: The Steelheads fell 3-1 in their series finale against the Allen Americans on Saturday night from Credit Union of Texas Event Center. The Steelheads came out firing again to open the contest and nearly had the first tally of the game within the opening half of the frame. However, a video review called the goal back to keep the road side off the board. In the second period, the Americans struck twice within the first eight minutes to jump out to a 2-0 lead. During a late 4-on-4, Steelheads defenseman Darren Brady (18:18 2nd) ripped a shot from the right circle to cut the lead in half, however the Americans answered on the next shift to spread the lead back to two. In the third period, the Americans tacked on another tally, and despite a late goal by Steelheads forward Frederic Letourneau (18:35 3rd), time ran out in the 4-2 result.

Taking A Slide: The Steelheads have fallen into a rough patch during not only the first week of March but also the final quarter of the season. With their loss on Wednesday, the Steelheads have dropped three-straight games for just the second time this season, sitting one game below their four-game losing skid from December 31 to January 5. During their slump, the Steelheads have been outscored 11-5 and are just 1-for-10 on the power play despite averaging 10 more shots per game. However, the last time the Steelheads dropped the first two games of a six-game road trip they would win three of four games heading into at least a five-game homestand, which is the same scenario the Steelheads could find themselves in.

White Out: Steelheads forward A.J. White hit another team milestone in the loss on Saturday. With his assist in the second period, the Dearborn, Mich. native took sole possession of fifth place on the Steelheads’ ECHL all-time scoring list at 174 points, breaking the tie with forward Mark Derlago (’09-’11) for that marker. He sits behind defenseman Darrell Hay (’03-’05, ’06-’09) at 197 points for fourth on the all-time list. White is having a career season, leading the team with 48 points (19-29—48) and leading in all three scoring categories. He also has points in three of his last four games with five points (two goals, three assists).

Brady Bunch: Steelheads defenseman Darren Brady continued his recent point run with the first of the team’s two goals in Saturday’s defeat. The Lake Orion, Mich. product is up to a five-game point streak since February 23, posting six points (2-4–6) in that time though breaking a four-game assist streak. This overtakes his largest streak of the season set from November 13-20 with five points (1-4–5). Brady has been one of the team’s best scoring defensemen this season and leads team defensemen in goals (six) and scoring (20) through 30 games while blowing out his career-best numbers.

Rookie Rising: Steelheads forward Luc Brown broke a six-game point drought with an assist in Allen on Saturday. That helper not only got the Napanee, Ont. native back into the scoring column but also moved him to breach the 40-point plateau, becoming the second player on the team to reach that mark alongside forward A.J. White (48 points). His scoring throughout the season has gained him momentum for the ECHL rookie scoring race, sitting as one of just seven rookies to hit that mark. Brown sits in a four-way share of fourth place in scoring among rookies, trailing Iowa’s Kris Bennett by nine points for the top spot.

Flying High: The Kalamazoo Wings are coming off a hazardous eight-game losing skid that was snapped on Saturday against the Tulsa Oilers in a split weekend. Prior to their 6-2 win over the Oilers, the K-Wings were held to three goals or less in all eight games spanning February 16 through March 4 and dropped them from third in the Central Division to sixth place. This is the third-straight game against a Mountain Division opponent and part of a four-game homestand. The K-Wings are 3-2-0 against the Mountain Division this year, taking down the Utah Grizzlies in two of three games from December 3-6 on the road prior to last weekend’s split.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 56 32 21 2 1 67 .598
Rapid City Rush 57 29 20 4 4 66 .579
Idaho Steelheads 55 29 23 2 1 61 .555
Tulsa Oilers 54 26 24 2 2 56 .519
Allen Americans 52 23 22 6 1 53 .510
Wichita Thunder 56 24 24 8 0 56 .500
Kansas City Mavericks 57 27 27 2 1 57 .500

Next Game: The Steelheads open a three-in-three weekend against the Toledo Walleye on Friday, Mar. 11 at 5:15 p.m. from Huntington Center. Coverage begins at 5:00 p.m. on 95.3 The Ticket & FloHockey.tv.

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