Where We Left Off: New Year’s Resolution –Tuesday night marked the final game of the 2013 calendar year for the Rapid City Rush, as they traveled to the Family Arena to take on the St. Charles Chill. New Year’s Eve has been kind to the Rush since their inception, and while they were looking for their fifth win in the last six games ending the calendar year, they were also looking to further extend their CHL record road win streak of 11 games. The Rush dominated from the start of the first period, owning time of possession in the offensive zone and out-chancing the Chill. Eventually, rookie forward Kyle Stroh would barrel through the Chill, and while being held from behind on a breakaway would deke the goaltender out of his boots and tuck it behind him to give the Rush a 1-0 lead going into the locker room. The Chill would come back in the second period, with Kyle O’Kane scoring twice and Andrew Conboy getting a power play tally to overtake the Rush 3-1 late in the second. But Winston Day Chief would assert himself, scoring on a bar-down rifled shot to cut into the deficit to 3-2 entering the third. It would take awhile for either team to light up the scoreboard, but Day Chief would tip a Sean Erickson shot in on a power play to tie the game at 3-3 with 2:48 left in regulation for his second goal of the contest. Moments later, he would end 2013 with a bang, as he’d complete the natural hat-trick to win the game with 57.9 seconds left in regulation, stealing two points from the Chill in a 4-3 victory.
Hat’s Off to Day Chief – Rush forward Winston Day Chief scored the fifteenth hat –trick in team history, a natural hat-trick, on Tuesday night that powered the Rush to a 4-3 win. It is Day Chief’s first professional hat trick, coming in his 56th game played as a pro, all of them with the Rush. His hat-trick capped off a solid five-game performance, which also saw him earn CHL Three Star of the Month of December honors as the Third Star of the month, despite missing half of December with injury.
Dirty Dozen – The Rush have now extended their road winning streak to 12 games, expanding further upon their CHL record previously set against the Denver Cutthroats two weekends ago. The Rush are also closing in on a franchise record regarding road play, this one being most consecutive road games recording a point. That franchise mark is 15 games, set back in the 2009/2010 season, the year the Rush last won the Ray Miron President’s Cup Championship.
Keep The Power On – The Rush power play also ended the year with a bright spot. With Day Chief’s power play goal on Tuesday, the Rush have now successfully scored a power play goal in five straight games, going 7/30 (23.33%). Their play on the man-advantage has also translated well to their road play, as they are 5/24 (20.83%) in their last six road games.
NUMBER CRUNCH: vs the Americans – With a highly anticipated rematch looming against the defending champions, let’s look back on some numbers from the last matchup, and some interesting numbers coming into the rematch:
· 2 (1) – the number of one goal wins the Rush took out of the last matchup. The Rush won game 1 by a 3-2 score, thanks to Konrad Reeder’s tip in goal with 5.4 seconds left in regulation. The next night, rookie goaltender Keaton Hartigan won his second professional start, shutting the door in the shootout round, stoning all four shooters, to earn yet another 3-2 win for the Rush.
· 14.3 – each team’s power play percentage at the conclusion of the two game set. Both teams went 1/7 on the weekend, but the difference on the specialty unit’s came from the Rush. Former Rush forward Austin Mayer scored a shorthanded goal in the second game of the set.
· 9 – the number of losses for the Americans when trailing after two periods. They only trailed the Rush once last time, but have yet to win when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
· 13 – the number of wins the Rush have when leading after the first period. Countering the above statistic, the Rush have yet to lose when taking a lead into the locker room session after 20 minutes.
· 15 – the number of wins for the Rush when scoring first. Out of 27 games played so far, they have surrendered the first goal only 10 times. They’re 15-2-0 when scoring first.
We’re Going Streaking! – Three Rush players are carrying statistical streaks into tonight’s game against the Chill (and possibly the New Year too):
· Jesse Schultz – assists and points in his last seven games (G, 10 A, 11 Pts)
· Konrad Reeder – points in his last seven games (6 G, 7 A, 13 Pts)
· Winston Day Chief – points in his last five games (7 G, 5 A, 12 Pts)