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PREVIEW #33: Steelheads @ Grizzlies

PHOTO: Tim Broussard, Utah Grizzlies

IDAHO STEELHEADS (18-3-1) VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES (21-11-2)

SATURDAY, JAN. 15, 2022 | 7:10 P.M. MT
MAVERIK CENTER | WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
RADIO: 95.3FM/1350AM KTIK | STREAM: FLOHOCKEY

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads meet the Grizzlies for the second of three games this weekend from Maverik Center.

Head-To-Head: Despite taking the loss last night, the Steelheads still own the series lead so far with wins in four of seven contests though the two have split the four games of their six-game stretch. Tonight’s game will mark the mid-way point of the 16-game season set, and thus far no team has won three-straight games or been able to hold the other from back-to-back wins. The Steelheads still have taken 13 of 18 games since the start of the 2019-20 season series. Overall, the Steelheads ate 110-54-26 all-time against the Grizzlies as well as 50-30-13 at Maverik Center.

Last Night: The Steelheads struck early but could not hold in a 4-1 loss to the Grizzlies on Friday night from Maverik Center. The Steelheads got out in front early in the game for the second time in three contests against the Grizzlies. Forward Chase Zieky (7:36 1st) slipped a shot from the right circle to snag the 1-0 advantage, but the Grizzlies found the answering strike before the end of the opening frame. An early shorthanded goal by the Grizzlies created momentum that they would hold through the middle frame. Despite pressure put back by the Steelheads, the Grizzlies added two more and finished off with the 4-1 win.

Road Struggles: The Steelheads have not had the best of travels away from Boise since returning from the holiday break. The Steelheads have lost four-straight road games for the first time this season and have also dropped five of six road contests since the start of December, owning a 1-4-1 record in that stretch against three different opponents. The Steelheads have been held to two goals or less in four of those six contests, only earning more in their lone win on December 4 (5-0 W) and in the final meeting in Allen on January 2 (5-3 L). Overall, the Steelheads have dropped five of seven games since the holiday break concluded.

Keeping It Clean(er): The Steelheads and Grizzlies have had some of their lowest power play opportunities against each other this season, especially in their recent stretch. The Steelheads have conceded no more than two power plays in all seven games of the season series thus far while the Grizzlies have held the Steelheads to three power plays or less in five of seven contests, only allowing more in their 11 opportunities on Opening Night as well as four chances last night. The Steelheads are 8-for-24 (33.3%) against the Grizzlies this season while Utah is 3-for-11 (27.3%).

The Hot Hand: Steelheads forward Chase Zieky was at it again in last night’s game, netting the only goal for the road side in the loss. With that tally, the Avon, Conn. native has his first three-game goal streak of his professional career, scoring four goals in the last week while also tying Luc Brown’s team-high three-game goal streak from December 3-8 where he also had four goals. Since returning from the injured list on January 2, Zieky has points in four of five contests with five points (4 goals, assist) in that stretch. All of his six goals this season have come in consecutive spurts with his last stretch on November 13 & 17 for his first two professional tallies.

Runaway McBride: Steelheads forward Shawn McBride has quietly been picking up the pace in scoring as of late with another assist on the season in the loss. The product of Victoria, B.C. is on a three-game point streak with four points (goal, 3 assists) since January 8 with assists in all three of those contests while factoring on the first goal in consecutive games. McBride is having quite the turn of offensive performance this season, posting 16 points (3-13–16) through 29 games, blowing away his previous career totals in all categories while adding his first shorthanded and power play goals of his career this season.

Short & Stout: The Utah Grizzlies have traded their penalty kill numbers on the season for one of the most lethal shorthanded groups in professional hockey. Their two shorthanded goals last night move them to 12 goals in that area this season, leading the ECHL and sitting as just one of two teams with at least 10 shorthanded goals with the Atlanta Gladiators (10 shorthanded goals). With 38 games remaining in their season, the Grizzlies are on-pace to at least equal, if not break, the single-season ECHL record for shorthanded goals set by the Louisiana IceGators during the 1998-99 season with 24 goals. The most recent teams to come close to that mark are the South Carolina Stingrays (22), Florida Everblades (21) and Fresno Falcons (21), all in the 2006-07 season.

2021-22 MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAMGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCT
Utah Grizzlies3421111144.647
Idaho Steelheads3218130137.578
Rapid City Rush3516143237.529
Tulsa Oilers3117130135.565
Kansas City Mavericks3316161033.500
Allen Americans2813114030.536
Wichita Thunder3412184028.412

Next Game: The Steelheads conclude their three-game weekend against the Grizzlies on Monday, Jan. 17 at 1:10 p.m. from Maverik Center. Coverage begins at 12:50 p.m. on 95.3FM/1350AM "The Ticket" & FloHockey.