Where We Left Off: Duck Hunt – The Rapid City Rush rekindled their series with the Quad City Mallards last weekend in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Mallards, undefeated in regulation in nine straight games coming into the Black Hills, put their streak on the line against the best defense in the CHL. Despite a scoreless first period, the Rush would fire 16 shots on Ty Rimmer’s net to his Mallards 4, but the Rush would be unable to maintain the momentum. Two goals scored three minutes apart in the second period would give the Mallards a 2-0 lead going into the final period of regulation, a lead that would remain unchanged for the rest of the game. The Rush would be unable to solve Ty Rimmer, who stopped ALL 48 Rush shots, and the Mallards would hand the Rush their third loss in twenty games played, and their first shutout loss of the season. Then, playing in front of their first sell-out crowd of the season at 5,119 strong, the Rush rebounded from their first shutout loss of the season on Saturday night. The Rush would score early, and often on Mallards goaltender Thomas Heemskerk, and would keep their foot on the gas pedal throughout the game. The Rush would start with a 3-0 lead through the middle of the second period, and would add two more after allowing their first goal against on the night en route to a 5-1 win, their 18th win of the season through 21 games.
You Don’t Want to Make Me Angry… – In their very next game after a loss, the Rush outscore their opponent 13-3 (4-1 win @ Wichita following the loss to Missouri, 4-1 win vs Denver following a loss in the first of a three game set, and a 5-1 win vs Quad City following a loss in the first of a two game set). In each of those three games, the Rush have scored first, and have never lost the lead once obtaining it.
Mr. Boron, Tear Down That Wall - Since the start of the season, Rush goaltender Tim Boron has been an unstoppable wall in between the pipes. Boron leads the league in Save Percentage (.937), Wins (15), and Goals Against Average (a whopping 1.99). At the end of November, he was the first goaltender in league history to win CHL Goaltender of the Month in three consecutive months (March 2012/2013, October and November 2013/2014).
Chasing History Once More – The Rush come into Denver with the chance to possibly set two records in the CHL. With a sweep over the Cutthroats, the Rush will have won 11 straight road games, eclipsing the previous record of 10 that has been met four previous times (most recently the Odessa Jackalopes in 2001/02). The Rush have yet to lose away from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center this season with a 9-0 road record, and are the last team to be undefeated in road play in the CHL. On top of that, the Rush can become the first team in the CHL to ever win 20 of their first 23 games to start a season. The Rush already tied CHL history this year, winning their first 10 games of the season.
Number Crunch: VS the Cutthroats – The Rush begin part two of their rivalry series with the Denver Cutthroats this weekend, playing in games 4 and 5 of the season’s 14 game set. Let’s look at some numbers from the last matchups:
· +6 – the scoring differential in favor of the Rush in the series. In 3 games in November, the Rush outscored the Cutthroats 11-5, winning the last two games by a 10-3 margin.
· 3 – the number of goals Rush rookie Kyle Stroh has scored in the series. Stroh leads the way scoring against the Cutthroats, having scored in each game of the series to this point.
· 28.6 – the Rush power play against the Cutthroats. This is their best percentage against an opponent this year with a minimum of two games played against their opponent.
· 31 – the number of total power plays between both teams in the series. Denver went 3/17 (17.6%) to counter Rapid City’s man-advantage statistics. Denver comes into this set of games with the best power play in the CHL, clocking in at 21.6%
· 4 – the number of players between both teams in the top 10 in league scoring. Denver’s Garrett Bembridge leads the way with 38 points (league-leading 21 G), and Troy Schwab is T-5th with Jesse Schultz at 33 points (Schwab leads CHL with 28 A). Konrad Reeder is 7th with 32 points.
Streak on the line – Winston Day Chief returns to the lineup from the injured reserve, picking up from where he left off on his 5 game point streak in which he scored 5 goals with 2 assists for 7 points.