IDAHO STEELHEADS WEEKLY – WEEK 15 – 1/30/24
Forward Mark Rassell is back with the Steelheads this week after being released from his PTO with the Calgary Wranglers (AHL) on Monday after appearing in eight games recording two goals and one assist. His 22 goals this season are tied for second in the ECHL and his 35 points in 31 games are fourth on the Steelheads.
The Steelheads (26-13-1-1) host the Allen Americans (18-21-1-1) this Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at the Idaho Central Arena with puck drops at 7:10 p.m. Idaho enters the week second in the Mountain Division trailing Kansas City by six points, third in the Western Conference, and fifth in the ECHL with a winning percentage of 0.659.
Idaho is coming off a three-in-three weekend in Tulsa where the Oilers took four out of a possible six points.
Last Friday night Idaho picked up their third straight win defeating Tulsa 4-2 behind a goal and two assists each from Lincoln Erne and Will Merchant. The Steelheads led 2-1 after the first and second period as Jade Miller who had missed the previous 21 games dating back to Nov. 29 with a lower body injury scored his fourth goal in just his sixth game this season 42 seconds into the third period. Wade Murphy tied his season total in goals last year potting his 21st of the year in the final frame while Bryan Thomson made 38 saves on 40 shots in the win.
Saturday night the Steelheads suffered a 5-2 defeat vs. the Oilers. After falling behind 2-0 Patrick Kudla and Willie Knieirm scored late in the second period 2:55 apart from one another to tie the game at 2-2. Tulsa regained the lead with 1:46 left in the middle stanza and then scored midway through the third period to take a 4-2 advantage. The Oilers tacked on an empty netter to secure the victory as Bryan Thomson made 38 saves on 42 shots in the loss.
The Oilers scored two empty netters on Sunday in their 5-2 win over the Steelheads. Francesco Arcuri scored his 11th goal of the season, his fourth on the power-play, with 5:24 left in the second period as Idaho entered the third period trailing 2-1. Ben Zloty scored with 5:52 left in the the game to pull the Steelheads back within one goal before the Oilers scored a pair of empty net goals. Jared Moe suffered the loss making 28 saves on 31 shots.
The Week Ahead
Idaho host Allen this week from the Idaho Central Arena Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with puck drop slated for 7:10 p.m. If you can’t make it out to the game you can listen on the Steelheads flagship station 95.3 FM KTIK “The Ticket” and watch on KTVB 24/7 (Channel 7.2) and FloHockey.
This week is the final time this regular season the two clubs will meet as Idaho is 5-3-0-0 vs. Allen this season and 4-1-0-0 in Boise. Idaho and Allen opened the season in Boise back in October with the Americans defeating the Steelheads 5-2 on Oct. 21 but Idaho prevailing 8-5 the following evening.
The Steelheads swept the Americans in Boise back in November outscoring them 16-5 across the three games, scoring five or more goals in all three contests and allowing two or fewer goals in the series. Allen took two of three games from Idaho in a three-in-three series at the end of December.
Both teams have shown they can score goals this year as the Steelheads lead the league averaging 4.39 goals per game and the Americans are eighth with 3.49, Idaho has outscored Allen 37-27 in the first eight games of the head-to-head series.
Idaho leads the ECHL averaging 37.78 shots per game this season while Allen has given up a league high 40.54 shots per game. In the first eight games of the series the Steelheads have recorded 41 or more shots averaging 45.88 per game against the Americans, and a season high 58 back on Nov. 15 in a 6-2 win.
Allen (18-21-1-1) is in fourth place of the Mountain Division with 38 points, two higher than Utah, after earning three points in a three-game set at first place Kansas City last week. Wednesday night they collected a 4-2 win snapping a four-game losing streak, which followed a stretch where they went (9-1) in their previous 10 games including a season long six-game winning streak. Last year’s ECHL MVP Hank Crone leads the Americans with 42 points (14G, 28A) in 30 games this season but was held point-less in all three games at Kansas City after taking an 18 game point-streak into the series. Former Steelhead Colby McAuley leads the Americans with 19 goals which are tied for fifth in the league while his 10 on the power-play lead the ECHL.
STEELHEADS INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Comings And Goings: Forward Mark Rassell was released from his PTO with the Calgary Wranglers (AHL) on Monday and returned to Idaho… In eight games with the Wranglers he tallied three points (2G, 1A)… His 22 goals for the Steelheads this year are second in the ECHL and his 35 points in 31 games are fourth on the club… Forward Jack Becker signed a PTO with the Texas Stars (AHL) last Friday and played for the Stars on Friday and Saturday night… He was released on Sunday and appeared in the lineup for the Steelheads Sunday in Tulsa… After recording an assist and six shots in the loss Sunday he rejoined Texas signing another PTO on Monday… Forward Ty Pelton-Byce signed a PTO the Texas Stars (AHL) last Friday and played for the Stars on Friday and Saturday night… He returned to Idaho on Sunday and tallied an assist in the loss… He still remains with Idaho… Defenseman Patrick Kudla played all three games for the Steelheads over the weekend and scored a goal on Saturday night… He was released from his PTO with AHL’s Syracuse on Thursday after playing four games for the Crunch… He initially signed his PTO on Jan. 8… Forward Cole Donhauser was traded to Greenville yesterday for future considerations.
Murphy Stays Hot: Forward Wade Murphy enters this week on a four-game point streak (2G, 2A) after scoring a goal and adding two assists in the three-game series at Tulsa. Last year he recorded 43 points (21G, 22A) in 54 games, this season he has 47 points (21G, 26A) in 40 games. His 21 goals are tied for third in the ECHL while his 47 points are third. His 155 shots are second in the ECHL.
Top Ranks Amongst Defensemen: Veteran Matt Register is tied for third amongst ECHL defensemen with 35 points while his 30 assists are tied for second. His 13 points (3G, 10A) on the power-play are tied for seventh and he is just one of two Idaho skaters to have played in all 41 games this season. Meanwhile Patrick Kudla is fifth amongst league defenders with 32 points (6G, 26A) in 36 games. Kudla has produced eight-man advantage points (1G, 7A).
Rookie Scoring: Dallas Stars prospect Francesco Arcuri has totaled 22 points (11G, 11A) in 34 games this season. The forward has a point in six of his last seven games (3G, 6A). Meanwhile defenseman Ben Zloty has a point in four of his last five games (1G, 4A) and has logged 14 points (4G, 10A) in 26 games this year. Zloty and Bryan Thomson are the only two players on the roster under AHL contracts currently.
Idaho leads the ECHL averaging 4.39 goals for per game scoring 180 in 41 games… They have tallied four or more goals in 30 of those 41 games… The Steelheads lead the league averaging 37.78 shots for per game having totaled 40 or more shots in 19 of 41 games… Idaho has the topped ranked power-play in the league overall (41-for-147, 27.9%) and first on the road (23-for-67, 34.3%)… They are 10th on home ice (18-for-80, 22.5%)… Idaho is (33-for-38, 86.8%) on the penalty kill in the month of January… Idaho’s penalty kill on the road is first in the league (70-for-77, 90.9%)… They are 24th on home ice (56-for-77, 72.7%)… The Steelheads are tied for second with 23 first goals this season posting a record of 18-3-1-1 when getting out to a 1-0 lead… The Steelheads are 12-7-1-1 at the Idaho Central Arena having sold out in 20 of 21 games including 18 straight.
Goals: Mark Rassell (22) – Tied Second in ECHL
Assists: Matt Register (30) – Tied Fourth in ECHL
Points: Wade Murphy (47) – Third in ECHL
Plus/Minus: Wade Murphy (+26) – First in ECHL
PIMs: Nick Canade (68)
PPGs: A.J. White (8) – Tied Third in ECHL
GWGs: Mark Rassell/Wade Murphy (5)
Shots: Wade Murphy (155) – Tied Second in ECHL
Wins: Bryan Thomson (12) - Tied Third in ECHL
GAA: Bryan Thomson (2.86)
SV%: Bryan Thomson (.912)
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