Where We Left Off: Fool Me Twice – Thursday night marked the return of hockey to the Black Hills, as the Rapid City Rush squared off against the Missouri Mavericks in the first of a three game in three night series, the Rush’s first one of the year. Last time these teams met, history was on the line, and the Mavericks prevailed, handing the Rush their first loss of the season. Last night, both teams picked up from where they left off in November, and the budding rivalry escalated. The Mavericks scored first, as Andrew Courtney fired a rocket of a power play goal on their first man-advantage of the game, giving the Mavericks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The Rush would strike back in the second period, as Rush defenseman Sean Erickson would score two goals five minutes apart, the latter a power play goal, to give the Rush a 2-1 lead midway through the game. But the Mavericks would quickly answer 1:22 later, as Mike Ramsay would score Missouri’s second power play goal of the game to knot it up at 2-2 heading into the final frame. From there, it was all Missouri on the scoreboard, with John-Scott Dickson scoring the game-winner with 7:10 left in the game, and the empty-netter to seal the 4-2 win over the Rush, just their fourth loss on the year.
Minnesota Viking – Rush defenseman Sean Erickson has been a common name on the official scoresheet in the past few weeks. With his two goal performance last night, Erickson registered his sixth multi-point performance in his last nine games, having scored 5 goals with 12 assists for 17 points, meaning all but one point of his this season with the Rush have come in that span. This tear has allowed him to rank tied for third among CHL defensemen in points, with teammate Trisitin Llewellyn only behind him by one point in that category.
Rapid Rebound – This season, the Rush have played some of their most consistent hockey after suffering a loss. The very next game following defeat, the Rush have unloaded on their opponent, outscoring them 13-3 (4-1 W @ WIC 11/22, 4-1 W vs DEN 11/28, 5-1 W vs QDC 12/14).
Three-in-a-Row – This series between the Mavericks and the Rush marks the first three-in-three set (three games in three nights) that the Rush have seen this season. The Rush will play in two more three-in-three sets this season, both of them in back to back weekends at the end of February/start of March.
NUMBER CRUNCH: VS the Mavericks (Rematch Edition) – Having closely observed the numbers from the last showdown and the season to this point, these teams are as evenly matched as ever:
· 12 – the number of combined power plays on the evening for both squads. The Rush went 1/7 last night and had 3 of those opportunities in the first period.
· 23 – the number of shots on net the Rush took last night. This is a new low for shots on net for the Rush in a loss this season, with the previous low being 38 shots against Denver on 11/27. When the Rush lost to the Mavericks the first time, they registered 46 shots on net in the defeat. Conversely, Missouri only shot 26 times on Tim Boron’s net. The Rush normally average 35 shots on net, and when shooting in the 30’s have a 13-1 record.
· 2 – the number of goals scored by Sean Erickson. He scored his first multi-goal game with the Rush and became the fourth player this season to have a multi-goal effort, joining Winston Day Chief, Eric Giosa, and Konrad Reeder (twice).
· 3 – the number of points separating the Rush and the Mavericks in the standings. The Rush are still in first place, having held that spot atop the CHL since November 9th.
We’re Going Streaking! – Four Rapid City Rush players are carrying statistical streaks going into tonight’s matchup against the Mavericks:
· Sean Erickson – points in his last four games (4 G, 5 A, 9 Pts)
o also has multi-point outings in six of his last nine games
· Konrad Reeder – points in his last four games (3 G, 4 A, 7 Pts)
· Jesse Schultz – assists and points in his last four games (G, 5 A, 6 Pts)
· Tim Boron – five straight starts in goal (3-2-0)