Red-hot Steelheads eye first place Friday

The Steelheads are the hottest hockey team in the ECHL, the only squad in the 28-team league to win eight of their past 10 games.

Idaho (55 points in the West Division) can take over first place with a victory over Utah (56 points) on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.

But they’ll have to do it without star forward Emil Molin, who was called up to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League this week. It’s his second AHL call up of the season.

The 23-year-old Swede — a fourth-round NHL Draft pick of the affiliate Dallas Stars in 2011 — leads Idaho with 19 goals and ranks second in points (38), second in plus-minus rating (plus-16) and third in assists (19).

“He’s so deserving of it, and I’m pumped for him,” linemate Rob Linsmayer said. “It’s a shame to lose him from the Idaho Steelheads’ perspective, but this league is about developing kids to move up to the next level. Someone will have to come in and fill his spot, and we’ll figure it out from there.”

The home-and-home series continues Saturday night in West Valley City, Utah.

Steelheads home for one

▪ When: 7:10 p.m. Friday

▪ Who: Utah Grizzlies

▪ Where: CenturyLink Arena

▪ Fan facts: Games air on KTIK (1350 AM) and Cable One channel 72. ... Tickets at or the CenturyLink box office.