Rush broadcaster Mark Binetti is back with the latest edition of “On the ‘Mark’”, a series of thoughts in his head about the Rush, hockey, pro sports, and anything major happening in the world. In today’s episode, Binetti talks about a dominating Rush weekend, some college football, the trip to Allen and Rush players:
1) This past week was a fantastic week of Rush hockey. Although the Rush lost the first game in the set, they rebounded and put their rivals away, outscoring them 10-3 on Friday and Saturday. It’s a shame they couldn’t sweep the Cutthroats out of Rapid City, but like Coach Ferras has said many times, “these will not be our only losses, there will be plenty more”. While I know he is correct in that statement, I hope the “plenty more” part is incorrect.
2) Saturday was a ridiculous day for college football. Out of all the great rivalry matchups and games, #4 Auburn defeating #1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl was probably one of the craziest finishes ever in college football. If you didn’t get to see it, you can do so here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqIBNX0CXDc. Absolute insanity.
3) The above moment is what makes sports so awesome. I had a moment like that (sort of) in my days as the Charlotte Checkers assistant. The Checkers played the Peoria Rivermen and were down 4-0 with ten minutes left in regulation. It looked as though I was going to do another postgame show for a bad loss with not many positives to talk about. Then the Checkers come storming back, and get the game to a 4-3 score with roughly a minute to go. Former national champion defenseman from UMD, Justin Faulk, rifled a shot with 4.8 seconds left to tie the game and send Time Warner Cable Arena, and my broadcast booth, into pandemonium. As anti-climactic as this sounds, the Checkers lost that game in the shootout round.
4) SOUTH CAROLINA BEAT CLEMSON!!! FIVE YEARS IN A ROW!!! I can’t tell you how jacked up I was to see the Gamecocks come through and dominate the Tigers 31-17. Connor Shaw played out of his mind, the defense forced SIX turnovers, and the streak continues over “that school from the upstate”. So proud of my alma mater. Like our alma mater says: “Here’s a health Carolina, forever to thee”.
5) On top of the craziness of college football, the Rush had a major statement win that just added to the positivity of the day on Saturday. This whole weekend was about team hockey. With players like Bobby Preece, Winston Day Chief, and now Jared Brown out of the lineup, we needed players to step up in key situations. What happens? Eric Giosa has a 4-point weekend. Kyle Stroh, the rookie, scores in three straight games. The power play goes 28.5% in the series, scoring 4 out of 14 times. Tim Boron had 101 saves on the week. It was a perfect storm folks. I know we would all love to see our injured Rush players return, but the team played some amazing hockey this last week. They couldn’t have done it without all of you that attended to see them play and cheer them on.
6) Which brings me to my next point…the crowd on Friday night (and the week for that matter) was AMAZING! I got to see Rushmore Plaza Civic Center at 5,077 fans on Friday and it was incredible. Those banners in the rafters that say “Best Fans in the CHL” are no joke, and you proved it every game against Denver. You help my home broadcasts so much because of the energy that I feed off of every single home game. Thank you fans for EVERYTHING you do for our team.
7) On Wednesday night there were so many whistles and so many pucks going out of play like they were homeruns in Yankee Stadium. There was ZERO pace and flow to the game. Both teams couldn’t get anything established offensively, and I think it really detracted from the game. I personally believe the Rush should’ve won the game on Wednesday, but that’s what happens when a third party puts the result of the game in the hands of the #1 power play unit in the league with 6 minutes left in a 1-1 game (you know who I’m referring to). Despite all of that adversity, the Rush kept it close, and like I said earlier, bounced back and cruised the rest of the weekend.
8) Thanksgiving reminded me how grateful I am to be a part of this organization and living my dream. Romeo, our equipment manager, invited me to Thanksgiving dinner with his friends, and I am extremely grateful of his gesture. Of course he put me on the spot and made me play my all-time favorite song, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, but it was an absolute blast. I am truly blessed to have met the people I know, the players, and everyone that has helped me in my journey here. On a holiday where I wanted to be with family but couldn’t be because 1700 miles separates us, I realize that my team is my family as well, and I will NEVER forget the kindness that has been shown to me since I came to the Black Hills.
9) On that note, the Rush players are absolute class acts. They give me my daily dose of chirping, but it’s like Rush defenseman Tristin Llewellyn says, “If they don’t chirp you, it means they don’t like you”. They invite me to functions and have my back, and I am extremely grateful for how well they treat me and for how they want to include me in what they do. They have made my first pro year so far in hockey so special, and if any of them are reading this, all I can say is thank you so much.
10) This weekend, the Rush travel to Allen, TX to take on the defending CHL champions, the Allen Americans. I am excited for this trip for a multitude of reasons, but three stand out to me. First, EVERYONE says this is the coolest road trip to make. I’ve heard there is so much to do there, and I’m very much looking forward to it. Secondly, great hockey will be watched by many that weekend, as the only 14-2-0 team in North American pro hockey takes on the CHL’s defending champs. Lastly, I get to see two old friends of mine from Charlotte that live in the Dallas area. They will be at both games, and I will bring them Rush gear, so like all my other family and friends in Charlotte and in the northeast, they will be Rush fans too. It won’t be hard to make them fans…we’re the best team in the CHL.