Off and Running: The Steelheads earned a split in their first weekend of the season, winning 4-2 on Opening Night against the Norfolk Admirals but coming up short with a comeback effort in a 5-3 Saturday loss. The Steelheads will resume their four-game, season-opening home stand with two games at CenturyLink Arena against the Utah Grizzlies before both teams head to West Valley for Saturday’s contest, the first road game of the season. The Steelheads sit fourth in the Mountain Division after the opening weekend, with the Allen Americans, Colorado Eagles, and Wichita Thunder all starting the season 2-0-0.
Bombarding the Admirals: The Steelheads logged over 40 shots in each of their first two games, the first time since March of 2015 that they cracked the 40-shot mark in consecutive contests. Their 49 shots on Opening Night were the most by the team under Head Coach Neil Graham, and the most since they fired 58 on March 4, 2015. The heavy firepower led to seven goals for the Steelheads from seven different scorers.
What Disadvantage?: The Steelheads attack benefited from a particularly dangerous penalty kill, with the Steelheads getting shorthanded goals in each of the first two games. Brady Brassart completed a shorthanded 2-on-1 on Friday for the Steelheads’ first goal of the season, while Steve McParland’s shorthanded breakaway in Saturday’s third period brought the Steelheads within a goal. Idaho did surrender two power play goals on Friday night, but on Saturday improved to a perfect 3-for-3 on the kill.
On the Board: Three Steelheads earned their first professional points on Saturday night. Justin Parizek scored his first pro goal in the third period to open the scoring for Idaho, a rebound goal on which Shane Hanna earned his first professional assist. Eric Sweetman also grabbed his first assist on Tommy Thompson’s late third period tally.
Getting at the Grizzlies: The Utah Grizzlies will play Monday night against Norfolk before they head to Boise to face the Steelheads. As of Monday morning the Grizzlies are still looking for their first win, having dropped both ends of their home-and-home weekend against the Colorado Eagles. The Steelheads defeated Utah twice in preseason play by a combined score of 7-3.