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PREVIEW: Game #11 – Steelheads @ Rush
PHOTO: Jonny Berry

PREVIEW: IDAHO STEELHEADS (7-1-2) @ RAPID CITY RUSH (5-3-2)

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6, 2019 | 7:050 P.M. MT
RUSHMORE PLAZA CIVIC CENTER | RAPID CITY, SD
RADIO: 1350 AM KTIK | STREAM: ECHL TV

Tonight’s Game: The Steelheads continue their eight-game road trip with their first of three meetings against the Rapid City Rush from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Head-To-Head: The Steelheads and Rush meet 13 times during the 2019-20 season after the Steelheads overtook the season series last year, boasting a 12-3-1-1 record in a 17-game set, which included a 7-1-0-0 record on the road. Six of the 13 games will be played on the road in the season set. The Steelheads own a 38-13-4 record in the franchise series against the Rush.

Last Game: The Steelheads only needed one goal to snag a 1-0 shutout win over the Utah Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon from Maverik Center. The lone goal of the game came from forward Will Merchant (PP, 12:16 2nd) on a 5-on-3 power play to edge ahead, 1-0. The Steelheads locked down the rest of the afternoon to take the win. Tomas Sholl (5-0-2) saved all 25 shots in the shutout win, while Jeff Smith (3-1-0) halted 27 of 28 shots in the loss.

Road Warriors: The Steelheads are in the midst of an eight-game road trip and a stretch with 11 of 12 games away from CenturyLink Arena, and despite the team’s time away from home they have done well to excel with what they’ve been given. So far, the Steelheads are 2-0-0 during this road stretch and are also 5-0-2 on the season in road games, which marks the best road record in the ECHL. Moreover, they’re one of two teams with a perfect road record in regulation, which includes the Allen Americans winning their lone road game thus far. The Steelheads will play four teams over their next two weeks with one game against three different opponents (Wichita, Tulsa, Allen) next weekend.

Cutting It Close: The Steelheads have opened the season with a large set of one-goal games, which follows a typical trend for the team and across the ECHL. Already, eight of the team’s first ten games have been one-goal differentials following last season where the first 18 games had 14 separated by one goal. Their 5-1-2-0 record showcases the third-most wins in one-goal games across the ECHL, only trailing Reading (6-0-1-0) and Allen (6-1-0-0). Last season, the Steelheads played 33 of their 72 games (45.8%) in a one-goal differential, posting a 17-10-4-2 record.

Holy Sholly: Steelheads goaltender Tomas Sholl earned his third accolade of the 2019-20 season after being named Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month on Monday. This is the second time in his career he’s earned monthly honors, joining his run in March 2018, and he’s already earned two weekly honors with one runner-up in the first four weeks of the season. In addition, his shutout on Sunday afternoon was his eighth of his Steelheads career, moving him within two of the team’s all-time ECHL career record holder Steve Silverthorn (‘05-’08), who posted 10 shutouts. Sholl leads the ECHL in wins (5), GAA (1.67) and minutes (431) while sitting tied for second in save pct. (.939).

Marco, Polo: Steelheads forward Marc-Olivier Roy had a terrific weekend against Utah, leading the team in points (1-3–4) while also extending his season-best assist streak to eight games with his helper in the 1-0 win. With his 10 assists, he currently sits tied for third in the ECHL for helpers while also owning the longest assist and point streak in the league. He now sits two games away from the Steelheads ECHL record set by Brett Robinson in the 2014-15 season, who went 10-straight games with assists. Roy leads the Steelheads in scoring (1-10–11) and is now tied for 10th in the ECHL in overall scoring.

Rush More: The Rapid City Rush are off to one of their best starts in team history despite dropping their last three games last week. Like the Steelheads, the Rush have rarely been at home, playing just their third home game of the year while grabbing road points in droves, owning points in five of eight road meetings with a 3-3-2-0 record. Their 5-3-2-0 start is tied for their best start in their ECHL era with last year’s 5-3-1-1 mark with the help of a five-game win streak and six-game point run. The team’s best overall start was in 2013-14 with a 10-0-0-0 record in their final CHL season.

Deuce Wild: The Rush have been lifted by two new faces to the organization early this season: forwards Giovanni Fiore and Peter Quenneville. Fiore makes his first ECHL appearance after two seasons in the AHL and joining the Rush from AHL Tucson, already surging ahead with 15 points (7-8–15) and sitting tied for second in the ECHL in overall scoring. The Laval, Que. native also played one game in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 8, 2017 and owns 48 points (28-20–48) in 118 AHL games. Quenneville returns to North America after three seasons in Europe, last appearing with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2015-16 during his rookie season. Quenneville is at a point-per-game clip with 10 points (3-7–10) thus far and has almost halved his previous ECHL point total (26) in a fraction of the games (58).

MOUNTAIN DIVISION STANDINGS:

TEAMGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCT
Idaho Steelheads10712016.800
Allen Americans9720014.778
Rapid City Rush10532012.600
Tulsa Oilers13571011.423
Wichita Thunder9423011.611
Utah Grizzlies1034219.450
Kansas City Mavericks936006.333

Next Game: The Steelheads and Rush meet again on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:05 p.m. from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM "The Ticket" & ECHL.TV.

 
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