IDAHO STEELHEADS (36-31-3) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (40-27-3)
FRIDAY, APR. 15, 2022 | 7:10 P.M. MTMAVERIK CENTER | WEST VALLEY CITY, UTRADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY
Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads begin the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to clinch the postseason against the Utah Grizzlies from Maverik Center.
Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Grizzlies have now split their first 14 games down the middle with two games remaining on the schedule with the Steelheads owning a 7-7-0 record while also taking the home portion with a 5-4-0 record. The Grizzlies do have the one-point edge over the Steelheads thanks to the lone post-regulation result in a shootout on January. The Steelheads and Grizzlies are in the back end 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 115-58-26 against the Grizzlies all-time while going 51-31-13 on the road.
Last Game: The Steelheads closed the home portion of the regular season with a 4-0 loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night from Idaho Central Arena. The Steelheads worked against the Grizzlies throughout the course of the night, but the bounces fell to the opposition’s direction. The Grizzlies scored their first in the opening frame on a drop pass to take the advantage followed by a net-front deflection in the second period to stretch to a 2-0 lead. The Grizzlies tacked on two more in the third period with the first on a centering pass and the second into an empty net for the 4-0 result.
The Final Countdown: With just two games remaining, the Steelhead are officially in control of their own destiny in the Mountain Division. Thanks to the loss by the Allen Americans on Wednesday to the Iowa Heartlanders, the Steelheads have a chance to clinch a spot in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs only with a regulation win tonight coupled with an Americans regulation loss. The Steelheads are tied with the Americans at 75 points and currently own the second tie-breaker over the Americans with one more win in both regulation and overtime. The Tulsa Oilers, who have 76 points and sit in third place, own the first tie-breaker over the Steelheads and can only be eclipsed by the Steelheads by earning two less points.
Yin & Yang: Though the Steelheads closed their home schedule on a sour note, the team was one of the best in their own building this season both league-wide and historically. The Steelheads finished with a 25-10-1-0 record for a share of the most wins in the league at home with the Atlanta Gladiators and second in win percentage (.708) across the league. The 25 wins is tied for the most home wins in the ECHL era, sharing that with their two division-winning seasons in 2014-15 and 2009-10. However, the Steelheads have gone 11-21-1-1 on the road, which is the second-lowest win total only above South Carolina (10 wins), and the team has only taken one weekend series: November 10-13 in Rapid City (won two of three). The Steelheads have split two weekends, including their first trip to Utah on October 23-24.
Shut Down: The Steelheads suffered just their third shutout loss of the season on Saturday night against a familiar foe when closing the home schedule. The Steelheads have conceded shutouts to only one team this year: the Utah Grizzlies, who also earned shutouts on October 24 in Utah (4-0) and on March 18 in Boise (2-0). Goaltender Trent Miner has earned all three shutout wins with three different Steelheads goaltenders opposing him. On the flip side, the Steelheads have eight shutouts on the season with only one against the Grizzlies on January 15 in Utah (6-0).
The Cavalry: The Steelheads received reinforcements heading into the weekend from the Texas Stars on the back end with goaltender Matt Jurusik and defenseman Max Martin both joining the team in Utah. Jurusik returns to the Steelheads after going 9-5-4 with a 3.05 GAA and .899 save percentage in 20 games with AHL Texas this season but is on a two-game shutout streak with the Steelheads earned on December 8 & 19 prior to his call-up. With the Steelheads, he’s 6-2-1 with a 1.66 GAA and .935 save pct. with two shutouts in 10 games. Martin has two assists in 13 games with AHL Texas and returns with nine assists and five of those on the power play in 16 games.
Beared Down: The Utah Grizzlies officially clinched a playoff berth in Saturday’s win and are now lined up to take the division title with two games remaining. The Grizzlies can sure up the Mountain Division with either a win or a Rapid City loss in regulation thanks to owning the tie-breaker of most regulation wins (35). The Grizzlies also automatically have home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason with locking in a spot in the top-two. The Grizzlies have won four of their last seven games since March 26 and earned three goals or more in five of their last six contests. However, the Grizzlies have not won a home weekend series in their last two attempts since the beginning of March.
2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:
|x-Rapid City Rush
|Kansas City Mavericks
Next Game: The Steelheads close the regular season against the Grizzlies on Saturday, Apr. 16 at 7:10 p.m. from Maverik Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 95.3 The Ticket & FloHockey.