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GAME PREVIEW: RUSH vs TULSA 12/31

Thursday, December 31st
GAME PREVIEW: RUSH vs TULSA 12/31

GAME NOTES

Rapid City Rush vs. Tulsa Oilers

Game #28-December 31, 2015

Where We Left Off: Drawing a Blank – Eric Levine made 26 saves for the Colorado Eagles, who blanked the Rapid City Rush behind Jesse Mychan’s two-goal performance in a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon. Both teams failed to score until 10:26 of the second period, marking 30:26 of scoreless hockey. Jesse Mychan broke the scoreless deadlock with his first of two goals on the night, banking the puck off of Rush netminder Danny Battochio from behind the goal and in, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead with 9:34 remaining in the second (Ludwig Karlsson and Collin Bowman received the assists). That 1-0 score would remain until the early stages of the third period when Collin Bowman added his second point of the game with his seventh goal of the season. Battochio stopped a shot from Kyle Ostrow in the far faceoff dot and Bowman swooped in a knocked the rebound by an outstretched Battochio, doubling the Eagles advantage to 2-0 with 16:08 left in the game (Ostrow and Kyle Kraemer notched the assists). Mychan ended the scoring entries with his second on a deflection from a Joe Zarbo shot, that gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead with exactly five minutes remaining in regulation (Zarbo earned the only assist). Despite the best efforts of the Rush, out-shooting the Eagles 14-12 in the final period, Colorado goaltender Eric Levine hung on for his second shutout of the year, blanking the Rush by a 3-0 score on 26 saves.

Well This Will Do It – Thursday night begins a pair of games over the course of three days against the Tulsa Oilers, a team that the Rush have faced since their inception in 2008. Sadly, however, the longstanding rivalry will see its 2015-16 ECHL season series come to a close following the conclusion of the January 2nd contest that rings in the New Year for both clubs.

Home on the Range – Dating back to November 18th, the Rush have enjoyed much success at home, compiling a 6-3-1 record, which includes a 4-game point streak to start this run and a goal differential of +10, with the Rush outscoring their opponents 31-21 in that span.

Power Drain – One of the lone bright spots from Sunday’s defeat was the Rush penalty-kill unit, which has remained red-hot since the start of November. Even though they only had one appearance on Sunday, the Rush staved off Colorado’s power play unit (coming in at 5th-best in the league) to maintain their position as the 3rd-ranked PK unit in the entire ECHL and the3rd-best PK at home. Building off of that performance, the Rush have given their opponent the ninth-lowest total of power plays on home ice, and the lowest total overall in the entire 28-team ECHL through 27 games this season.

Aud Lang Syne – For the eighth time in eight seasons, the Rush will close out the calendar year with a game. All-time on December 31st, the Rush boast a 5-2-0 record, including a three-game winning streak from 2011 to 2013. Additionally, when closing out the year on home ice, the Rush are 3-1-0, and have won their last two such games. It is a game that has seen some outstanding performances on an individual and team basis alike. For starters, the largest margin of victory came in 2011, ironically enough against the Tulsa Oilers, in a 6-2 beat down in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in front of a sold out crowd. Two franchise-best performances came out of that game, with both Collin Circelli and Blake Forsyth recording +4 ratings, while Shawn Limpright cashed in with 3 assists (Limpright’s mark would be tied three seasons later by the team’s all-time leading scorer, Jesse Schultz). In one of the most memorable finishes in a New Year’s Eve game in Rush history, Winston Day Chief set the bar with the only hat-trick scored on the final day of 2013, as his natural hatty helped the Rush comeback and win 4-3 over the St. Charles Chill on the road. Scott Wray, the only gentleman to have his jersey retired in Rush history, recorded 4 points, still an NYE record, in his first December 31st showdown against Amarillo in 2009, with both 2 goals and assists in the affair.

CRUNCHING NUMBERS: vs the Oilers – It’s been almost a full month in-between matchups between these former CHL rivals, so let’s revisit their only showdown of the season and look at some numbers:

  • 4 – the number of consecutive goals scored by the Rush in what was eventually a 4-2 win. After Christophe Lalancette tipped a Mathieu Brisebois shot by Marek Langhamer, Kale Kerbashian started a four-goal tear, the last three of which came in the third period.
  • 3 – the number of points recorded by rookie Destry Straight. The former NCAA champ with Boston College registered a career night, assisting twice and potting an empty-netter along with a +2 rating, single-handedly accounting for 30% of the total Rush points recorded on the stat sheet. Straight’s empty-netter proved to be the game-winner in the contest, giving him a share of first in the ECHL among rookies, and a share of fifth overall in the league in that category.

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