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GAME PREVIEW: RUSH vs IDAHO 11/28

Saturday, November 28th
GAME PREVIEW: RUSH vs IDAHO 11/28

Regular Season Game 16-November 27, 2015

Where We Left Off: Reeled InTaylor Doherty’s early goal put the Rush on top, but two strikes later from Jefferson Dahl and Carson McMillan tilted the game in favor of the Idaho Steelheads who defeated the Rapid City Rush by a 3-1 score on Friday night. For the fifth time in their last six games, the Rush earned the first goal of the game. Just 3:19 into the matchup, Taylor Doherty came off of his blue line and sent a pass from behind the net in the high slot by Idaho goaltender, Philippe Desrosiers, to afford the Rush a 1-0 lead (Kale Kerbashian and Destry Straight received the assists). Doherty’s third goal of the season triggered a shower of underwear onto the ice in recognition of the first-ever “Undie Toss” Game in Rush history. The Steelheads fired right back moments later on their first power play of the game to even the score. Just 16 seconds into their first power play, Jefferson Dahl capitalized on a loose puck in front of the Rush net and scored on Rush net-minder, Danny Battochio, to square the matchup at 1-1 with 8:35 gone by in the period (Emil Molin and Zack Kamrass received the assists). Steelheads captain Carson McMillan would break the deadlock and provide a go-ahead goal for Idaho as his shot was deflected off of a Rush defenseman and behind Battochio, giving the visitors 2-1 lead with 2:08 left in the first period (Kamrass recorded his second assist of the game on the goal, while Andrew Panzarella received the secondary). After a scoreless middle frame, the Rush buzzed in the final period, clanking the post twice just minutes apart in an effort to respond to McMillan’s go-ahead goal. Despite the best efforts of the home side, that goal would turn out to be the game-winner, as neither team would score until Emil Molin’s empty-netter with 45.4 seconds left in the contest, sealing a 3-1 win for the Steelheads, marking their first victory in Rapid City this season (the lone assist went to Panzarella, giving him two in the game).

Back on the Road – Following tonight’s final altercation of the week against the West Division rival Idaho Steelheads, the Rush will take back to the road for two tilts next week against former Central Division rivals in the Tulsa Oilers (Wednesday night) and the defending Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans (Friday night). The Oilers matchup is the first of its kind this season in what will be the start of a three-game series this season, while the Americans series picks up with the third game of what will come to be a four-game series (Allen took the first two games in Rapid City earlier this month).

Guess Who’s Back – Making his much awaited return to the lineup off of the IR was Rush forward Kale Kerbashian, who quickly proved once again how much of an impact player he is. Just 3:19 into his return to the lineup, Kerbashian found Taylor Doherty off of his blue line and in the high slot, allowing the fifth-year defenseman to step into a shot that ultimately gave the Rush a 1-0 lead. Since last Wednesday when Michael Young, Cody Ferriero, and Mikhail Stefanovich returned, the four players that have come back off the IR in these last two weeks have tallied 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points and a +8 rating. Speaking of immediate…

Well That Was Fast – The Rush have recently made a habit of not only scoring first, but scoring very quickly into the start of the game, and last night was no exception. Four times in the last five games, the Rush have not only scored first, but have done so within the first 5:10 of the game: Zach Cohen scored 3:01 into the contest last Wednesday, followed by Mikhail Stefanovich 5:09 into his hat-trick affair last Friday, succeeded by Chris Ciotti’s first professional goal 4:50 into last Saturday’s contest, rounded out by Taylor Doherty’s tally 3:19 into last night’s second showdown with the Steelheads. Additionally, despite last night’s 3-1 loss, the Rush boast the ninth-best record in the ECHL when scoring first at 6-1-0-1, claiming 13 of a possible 16 points in that scenario (.813 win pct).

CRUNCHING NUMBERS: vs the Steelheads – With another installment of this West Division rivalry coming to a close until January 27th in Boise, let’s review some numerals from the four matchups played to date:

  • .935 – the save percentage of active Rush goaltenders in this series. Marek Langhamer and Danny Battochio have seen 108 shots in this series, 79 of which have come in this week alone.
  • 2 – the number of games that have been decided by fewer than two goals. That’s exactly half the series to this point, as both teams have a “blowout” under their belts, and have kept it relatively close since their first meeting at the start of the season.

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