Where We Left Off: Rocky Mountain Shootout – On a rare Tuesday night game, especially on the road, the Rush rekindled their series with their archrivals, the Denver Cutthroats. The Rush came into the game as losers of three straight games, but drew off of their previous success over their geographical rivals in the hopes that they could turn the tide and end their skid. For the first time since the season opening matchup between these two, both teams were scoreless after one. That would not be the case for long though, as the home team would strike first. Steve Kaunisto sent a wrister past Tim Boron on the first power play of the game to give the Cutthroats a 1-0 lead just 35 seconds into the second frame. Despite going down 1-0, the Rush would offensively dominate the second period for the second game in a row, and would carry the resulting momentum into the third period. It would pay off for the Rush, as Jesse Schultz would tie the game on his fourteenth of the year with 13:36 left in regulation. After a heartbreaking miss on a buzzer-beating chance, the Rush would go to overtime, still holding onto their offensive momentum. Despite both teams clanking the post in the extra session, five additional minutes would not be enough, and a shootout would have to decide a winner. Shooting for the Rush first was Jared Brown, who almost lost the puck on a hop off of his stick approaching the net. As Denver goalie Kent Patterson dove out to attempt to dislodge him of the puck, Brown recovered control, and buried the puck in the open 4’x6’. Tim Boron shut the door for the remainder of overtime, giving the Rush a 2-1 win by virtue of a shootout, defeating their archrivals for the seventh time in nine matchups.
I Can Go the Distance – Tuesday night was the fifth game in which the Rush played in a shootout. When the game goes past 65 minutes, the Rush have yet to lose, now boasting a 5-0 shootout record. Of those five shootout wins, three have come against the Cutthroats, with two coming in Denver.
Back In My Twenties – Rush goaltender Tim Boron earned his 20th win of the season on Tuesday night, becoming the second goalie in the CHL to accomplish the feat behind Missouri’s Shane Owen (21 wins). For Boron, this is his third consecutive year surpassing the 20 win plateau, and he is now 4 wins off of his career high of 24, set in his second year with the Rush when he posted a 24-11-2 record.
All By Myself – After being in a three-way deadlock for first place, the Rush once again have sole possession of first place in the CHL, however the race is still wide open. The Rush lead the Missouri Mavericks and the defending CHL Champion Allen Americans by two points each. The difference comes down to games in hand: the Mavericks have a game in hand on the Rush and the Rush have a game in hand on the Americans.
Sophomore Slump – In their inaugural season last year, the Cutthroats had the edge in the 16 game head-to-head series against the Rush with a 9-3-4 record, including five straight wins in the middle of the set. This year has been a reversal, as the Rush have won seven of this year’s matchups, tying last year’s win total, including six straight wins.
I Think We’ve Been Here Before – Every time the Rush and the Cutthroats square off, the statistical leaders of the league showdown. For the Rush, there are five players in the top-five of their statistical categories coming into tonight’s matchup. Konrad Reeder is 5th in overall scoring, T-3rd in goals, 8th in assists, and 2nd in +/-. Jesse Schultz is 4th in overall scoring, 3rd in assists, and 1st in +/-. Winston Day Chief comes in T-5th in goals and 4th in +/-. Ryan Palmer is 5th in the league in +/-, and Sean Erickson is 3rd amongst defensemen in assists and points.
NUMBER CRUNCH: vs the Cutthroats – Tuesday’s game provided some shocking statistics:
· 16 – the number of penalty minutes assessed to both teams Tuesday night. This is the second lowest PIM total in a game between both teams, with the lowest being 15, the average being 40, and the high being 82 in Denver/Rapid City matchups. There have been 359 total PIMs handed out. There were only 3 power plays in the game, with Denver scoring the only power play goal on their only chance.
· 10 – the number of wins when the Rush give up just one goal in a game. 4 of those wins are against Denver.
· 3 – the number of Denver shots in the third period. This is the lowest total allowed in a period this year.