Taking five of a possible six points at Victoria over the weekend, Idaho improved to 10-3-1 and has a one-point lead in the West Division over Utah (10-3-0) and Alaska (9-3-2).
The Steelheads and Grizzlies meet for the first time on Friday and Saturday in Boise while Alaska is idle until hosting Utah on November 29 and 30.
Idaho has the top two scorers in the ECHL with Garett Bembridge (9g-12a) and D’Arcy McConvey (7g-13a) while Marty Flichel ranks seventh (6g-12a) and Mike Stutzel (7g-8a) and Jonathan Zion (4g-11a) are tied for 12th. Bembridge, who has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last five games, is tied for second in goals and tied for third in assists while McConvey is tied for the lead in assists. Flichel leads the league with 12 power-play points and is tied for the league lead with nine power-play assists while Zion is tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen in points and assists.
The Grizzlies posted back-to-back home wins over Phoenix to extend their home winning streak to five games and their overall streak to eight games, the longest streak in the league this season. The five straight wins ties Utah for the second-longest home winning streak in the league while its three consecutive road wins ties the league season high. The Grizzlies have the top power-play unit in the league at 28.8 percent (13-for-73) while Idaho ranks second at 28 percent (14-for-82).
Seeing his first game action since October 28, Utah’s Justin Eddy was 2-0-0 and allowed only three goals against Phoenix to improve to 3-1-0 and lower his goals-against average to 2.18 while raising his save percentage to .926. Defenseman James Laux has a five-game scoring streak (3g-4a) and leads the Grizzlies in the last 10 games with 14 points (5g-9a). He leads league defensemen with 11 power-play points (5ppg-6ppa) and is tied for the league lead among defenseman with 15 points (5g-10a) and two game-winning goals. Matt Craig has eight points (5g-3a) in the last eight games and he leads Utah and league rookies with 10 goals, 15 points and three game-winning goals which ties him for the overall league lead.
The Aces swept a three-game series with visiting Las Vegas to improve to 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
Alaska’s Chris Minard scored two goals in each of his last two games, increasing his goal-scoring streak to four games (6g), and his scoring streak to six games (7g-2a). Minard led the ECHL in 2004-05 with 49 goals in 69 games and was named First Team All-ECHL while finishing second in voting for the Most Valuable Player award to teammate Scott Gomez. Cam Keith has an eight-game scoring streak (4g-5a) while Barrett Heisten has two game-winning goals and 11 points (3g-8a) in the last seven games and Mike Scott has 10 points (3g-7a) in the last six games. Heisten leads the league in plus-minus rating with +11 followed by teammate Peter Metcalf (+10) and Minard (+9).
Chris Beckford-Tseu picked up two wins against the Wranglers to improve to 5-0-1 and lowered his goals-against average to a league-leading 1.49 and raising his save percentage to .945, second in the league.