Rapid City Rush vs. Reading Royals
Regular Season Game #10-November 4, 2016
Where We Left Off: First Win at Home – Lindsay Sparks and Ryan Walters kept their pace up on the scoresheet, and Kent Patterson stopped 31 shots as the Rapid City Rush earned their first home-ice victory of the season over the Idaho Steelheads by a 5-3 score on Wednesday night. For just the second time this season, the Rush opened up the scoring entries in a contest and subsequently jumped out to an early lead. At 9:58 of the first, on the first Rush power play of the game, Brenden Walker potted a rebound off of a shot from Ryan Walters, beating Steelheads goaltender Branden Komm to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Walters and Lindsay Sparks assisted, with both extending their point streaks with the helpers). Less than three minutes later, Walters found Josh MacDonald between the faceoff circles in the Idaho zone, and MacDonald blasted a one-timer by Komm, doubling the Rush lead to 2-0 with 7:38 left in the first (Walters earned his second assist of the game, while Riley Weselowski earned his first with the other). Idaho struck back early in the second period to halve the deficit, despite being denied on a minute-long 5-on-3 power play. With possession coming into the Rush zone, Steelheads captain Jefferson Dahl powered toward the net and fired a shot by Rush net-minder, Kent Patterson, to bring the Steelheads to a 2-1 deficit with 3:26 played in the second (Rob Linsmayer and Travis Walsh assisted). With 46 seconds left in the period, Joe Faust tied things up when he crept off his blue line and one-timed a Kellan Lain pass by Patterson to square the game at 2-2 (Lain and Kyle Jean earned the helpers). Despite the late tying goal, Michael Young responded for the Rush 17 seconds later and pushed his club to an advantage heading into the final period. Lindsay Sparks sent a pass from the far corner of the Steelheads zone to Young, who came flying off his blue line and sent home a shot to re-establish the Rush lead at 3-2 (Sparks earned his second assist of the game, while Josh MacDonald earned his second point with an assist). Ryan Walters expanded the Rush lead back to two at the start of the third period. Just 67 seconds into frame, Riley Weselowski came off of his blue line with the puck, and while practically parallel with the goal line threw it in front of the net. Ryan Walters was there to deflect the puck by Komm, elevating the Rush to a 4-2 lead (Weselowski earned his second helper, while Nick Miglio notched his first). With 5:15 remaining in the game, however, the Steelheads made a push and came back within striking distance. After a scramble in front of Patterson’s crease in the Rush zone, the puck came free to Steelheads captain Jefferson Dahl, who sent the loose puck into a virtually open net for his second ignition of the goal lamp, bringing the score to 4-3 (Zach Bell assisted along with Rob Linsmayer, who earned his second of the game). Despite continuous offensive pressure from Idaho, the Rush wouldn’t be denied of the two points with Ryan Misiak sealing the affair with an unassisted empty-net tally to bring the game to its 5-3 final score, signifying a Rush win on home ice for the first time this season.
PAST 5 GAMES
4-2-0-1 (3rd North)
Chris McCarthy (3g-4ast-7pts)
2-6-1-0 (T-6th Mountain)
Lindsay Sparks (7g-9ast-16pts)
2-2-1 (PTS3, W2)
If You Ain’t First… – Through 9 games, the Rush have scored the first goal twice. In those instances, they not only come out with the win, but they also have scored 5 goals on the dot through 60 minutes of play. Additionally, the Rush are 3 goals off of the highest scoring offense in the ECHL, sharing 4th place with the Manchester Monarchs with 31 goals in 9 games, and also have the 9th-highest goals-per-game average in the ECHL (3.44).
Menage a Trois – Coach DeSantis instilled a new mindset and approach to the rest of the season, and it has already changed things up. After starting 0-6-0 with 17 goals scored, the team is rolling on a three-game point streak, posting a 2-0-1 record in their last three games, and taking 5 out of those 6 points on the table on the power of 14 goals.
Running Mates – With the 2016 Election quickly approaching, it is only appropriate that the Rush have two electric candidates primed to take over scoring in the ECHL. Not only is Lindsay Sparks STILL the ECHL’s leading scorer and STILL on an ECHL-high 9-game point streak, but Ryan Walters is now also powering his way to the top. “Wally” is now 2 points behind Lindsay for the ECHL’s scoring lead, registering 4 goals, 10 assists, and 14 points in the same time span. Additionally, Sparks leads the ECHL in goals, and Walters leads the league in assists.
For the First Time in…EVER – Tonight, the Rush engage in a historic battle as they take on the Reading Royals for the first time ever. Reading comes into this game, and this season for that matter, as one of the most successful teams in the recent history of the Eastern Conference, having made the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 12 of the last 13 years, and in the last 7 consecutively. In their 7 straight playoff runs, they won the 2013 Kelly Cup over the Stockton Thunder. Their bench boss, Larry Courville, is one of the most successful coaches in the ECHL, coming into this season with the 9th-highest win total in ECHL history at 305. As a player and coach, he’s been with Reading since the 2004-05 season, and hasn’t looked back since.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING! – Only two players come into tonight’s showdown with the Royals with statistical streaks on the line:
· Lindsay Sparks – has assists in his last five games and points in his last nine (7g-9a-16pts)
· Ryan Walters – has assists and points in his last five games (4g-7ast-11pts)