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PREVIEW #70: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

Saturday, April 9th
PREVIEW #70: Steelheads vs. Grizzlies

IDAHO STEELHEADS (36-30-3) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (39-27-3)

SATURDAY, APR. 9, 2022 | 7:10 P.M. MTIDAHO CENTRAL ARENA | BOISE, IDTICKETS: SOLD OUTTV: SPARKLIGHT CH. 72RADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads close the book on the regular season schedule at home in the middle game of their five-game stretch against the Utah Grizzlies.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads took back the edge in the season series by one game heading into the final three meetings of the year, holding a 7-6-0 record while also going 5-3-0 at home to officially take the home portion of the season set. The Grizzlies have the only post-regulation point with a shootout loss on January 8 coming back in the sixth game of the series. The Steelheads and Grizzlies are in the midst of their third stretch with more than five games head-to-head in-a-row, including the opening two weekends and two weekends in January. The Steelheads are 115-57-26 against the Grizzlies all-time as well as 64-26-13 at home.

Last Night: The Steelheads and Grizzlies went toe-to-toe to open the game, but the Grizzlies notched the first tally late in the opening period to take the initial lead. The Steelheads continued to work and were rewarded with two tallies late in the second period within one minute of each other. Forward Colton Kehler (16:08 2nd) deflected a blue line shot while battling net front to grab the first, and forward Ryan Dmowski (16:54 2nd) followed on the next shift with a shot angled from the goal line off the back of the netminder for the eventual difference-maker, 2-1. The Steelheads added one more during one of their three power plays on an open shot for forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk (PP, 13:24 3rd) to seal off the 3-1 win.

Three For The Show: Despite the win last night, the Steelheads find themselves on the outside looking in to the playoff picture with three games remaining. With the Allen Americans earning one point in overtime and the Tulsa Oilers overtaking the Wichita Thunder, the Steelheads sit just outside of fourth place by .002 behind the Americans, who have two extra games to play. At this point, the Steelheads need to win one more game than the Oilers to secure a playoff position or can control their own destiny with three more regulation wins to force a deadlock with the Utah Grizzlies that they would take via tiebreaker (regulation wins). The Steelheads, Grizzlies and Americans are the only Mountain Division teams playing tonight still in playoff contention.

Cardiac Kids: The Steelheads’ comeback win during the final two periods helped continue a trend of rebounding well following losses. The Steelheads finished the regular season a perfect 6-0-0 when falling on a Wednesday night game and now 11-4-0 after dropping the opening game of at least a two-game weekend series. The win marks four-straight rebound wins in that scenario and the third-straight on the game following a Wednesday loss. In those games, the Steelheads have outscored opponents 15-4 in their four-game rebound streak with at least three goals in all four contests. However, the Steelheads are 2-4-0 on Saturday nights in the same scenario with only one of those losses coming at home on February 26.

K-Boogie: Steelheads forward Colton Kehler’s deflection in the second period opened the scoring for the team in their road back starting in the second period. The Port Coquitlam, B.C. native got back on the scoresheet after two games off to extend his recent uptick to points in six of his last eight games since March 23, posting 10 points (5-5–10) in that stretch and sitting as just one of five players to reach that mark in that time as well as the only rookie. Kehler has had a strong debut season in North America with 35 points (16-19–35), which is three behind his performance last year in Germany and leads active rookies on the team. 

Clinching Chances: The Utah Grizzlies control their own fate when it comes to the postseason, sitting on the cusp of a playoff position with three games remaining. With the Steelheads being the first team out of the playoff picture and the Tulsa Oilers idle tonight, the Grizzlies need a point in any fashion to be the first team to clinch a postseason position in the Mountain Division. With the losses by the Rapid City Rush this week, the Grizzlies and Rush would tie atop the Mountain Division if the two teams were to win out with Utah taking the top spot via tiebreaker. However, there is a secnario that, if they do not clinch tonight, the Grizzlies can still miss a spot in the postseason should the Steelheads win all three games in regulation but would also need three others teams to outperform them the rest of the way.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT
Utah Grizzlies 69 39 27 2 1 81 .587
Rapid City Rush 68 34 23 6 5 79 .581
Tulsa Oilers 69 35 28 3 3 76 .551
Allen Americans 67 32 26 8 1 73 .545
Idaho Steelheads 69 36 30 2 1 75 .543
Kansas City Mavericks 69 30 32 5 2 67 .486
Wichita Thunder 67 25 33 9 0 59 .440

Next Game: The Steelheads begin the final weekend of the regular season against the Grizzlies on Friday, Apr. 15 at 7:10 p.m. from Maverik Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 95.3 The Ticket & FloHockey.

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