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GAME PREVIEW: STEELHEADS vs RUSH 11/25/15

Wednesday, November 25th
GAME PREVIEW: STEELHEADS vs RUSH 11/25/15

Regular Season Game 15-November 25, 2015

Where We Left Off: Chris Ciotti recorded a goal and an assist, and Daniel Barczuk added his second goal in as many nights, but Michael Young stole the show with his overtime winner, powering the Rapid City Rush to a 4-3 win in overtime over the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night. For a fourth consecutive night, the Rush opened up scoring entries within the first five minutes once again. With 4:50 gone by in the first, Chris Ciotti gave the Rush a 1-0 lead on his first goal as a professional hockey player, stuffing home a rebound in front of Utah goaltender, Ryan Faragher, and his net (Zach Cohen and Sean Erickson earned the assists). However, less than a minute later, Utah evened the score. Exactly 53 seconds later, Erik Higby buried a back-door pass from Ryan Walters by Rush net-minder, Danny Battochio, to level the game at 1-1 (Walters recorded the lone assist). Towards the end of the period, Rush forward Destry Straight was ejected from the game after a hit on Utah’s captain, Brent Gwidt. In the ensuing fracas following the hit, Jon Puskar was assessed a 2 minute minor for roughing, while Straight received “2, 5, and a 10” for roughing, elbowing, and a game misconduct, respectively. It forced two minutes of four-on-four hockey, leading to a score-at-will power play for Utah that spanned three minutes. Utah could not capitalize on the opportunity, and after the second period, the score remained unchanged. After 39:52 of scoreless hockey from the first period both teams unloaded for four total goals, and Utah opened the entries by taking their first lead over the Rush since late in Wednesday night. With 5:35 gone by in the final period, Charlie Sarrault broke the draw and gave the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead (Ryan Misiak and Alex Krushelnyski received the assists). Moments later, Garrett Clarke kept the puck in the Utah zone and sprung Spencer Pommells for a short breakaway. Pommells five-holed Faragher to tie the game a 2-2 with 11:13 left in the game (Clarke received the lone assist). Two minutes and forty seconds later, Daniel Barczuk gave the Rush a 3-2 lead with 8:23 left in the game on his second goal in as many nights as Chris Ciotti fired a shot from the near wall of the Utah zone and off of his shin pad to re-establish a Rush advantage (Ciotti recorded his second point with the assist, Scott Brannon added the secondary assist). The Grizzlies fired back with 3:26 to go in the game, tying the affair and setting up our third game in this series requiring post-regulation play. Barry Almeida barely got the puck by Battochio from close range, recording his 100th career ECHL point on the game-tying tally (Torin Snydeman got the lone assist). In our third bout of three-on-three overtime in this set, Cody Ferriero sprung Michael Young on a breakaway between the Utah defense, leaving him all alone with Faragher from the blue line in. Young faked and popped the bottle off of Faragher’s net, winning the game with 1:47 gone by in overtime, securing that coveted second point for the Rush in a 4-3 win.

Let’s POINT Something Out – The Rush are playing their best hockey of the season to date, and carry their momentum into a new series against another West Division rival, the Idaho Steelheads. In the most recent set against the Utah Grizzlies, the Rush claimed points in all five contests, and took 8 of a possible 10 points, going 3-0-1-1. This five-game point streak is the longest in the young stages of this season, topping the previous high of 3 set in the first four games of the year.

Power of 10 – Coach Ferras stresses how important “scoring by committee” is for this team to succeed. It is exactly what he has received in the last two weeks to propel his club to their current five-game point streak. Dating back to last Friday, the first game of the Utah series, ten different Rush players have ignited the goal lamp for a total of 17 goals. Zach Cohen leads the way with 4 goals, followed by Mikhail Stefanovich and his Friday night hat trick. Destry Straight and Daniel Barczuk have each contributed a pair, and Taylor Doherty has one along with rookies Chris Ciotti, Spencer Pommells, Michael Bunting, and Dakota Mermis (Bunting and Mermis were called up to the AHL shortly after they made their contributions). Additionally, 17 different players have combined for 45 points in the last 5 games.

Speaking of Hot Streaks… – The Rush penalty kill has continued its stalwart play, and has been a major factor in the success of this club in the last few games. Dating back to the final two games in October when the Rush battled the Alaska Aces (spanning 9 games), the Boys from the Black Hills have only allowed 2 power play goals on 26 PK’s faced for a 92.3% killing clip.

CRUNCHING NUMBERS: vs the Steelheads – It’s been since the first week of the season since we’ve seen the Steelheads, so let’s re-visit the first two games of the season, and where each team stands in the league:

  • 7 – the point total of current Rush defensemen from that first series. Rush blue-liners that have remained on the roster since that series combined for 2 goals and 5 assists, with the two goals making up 1/3 of the team’s goal total in that weekend. Michael Young leads the way there with a goal and 2 helpers.
  • .1 – the difference between each team’s overall penalty kill efficiency. The Rush are in 12th in the ECHL with an 84.2% killing percentage, whereas Idaho is JUST behind the Rush in 13th with an 84.1% killing clip. The Steelheads are 77.4% in their last 10 games (24/31), while the Rush are 89.6% in the same stretch (26/29).

WE’RE GOING STREAKING! – Only one Rush player carries a statistical streak into tonight’s first of three matchups against Idaho:

  • Zach Cohen – has points in his last three games (3 G, Ast, 4 Pts)

Upcoming Home Games

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Kansas City Mavericks @ Rapid City Rush
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