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10/12/18: Rush @ Utah

Friday, October 19th
10/12/18: Rush @ Utah

Where We Left Off: Learning Experience – The 2017-18 ECHL season was a year of learning: a new affiliation, new coaches, a new core, and celebration of 10 seasons of history.  After an 0-5-0 start, the Rush strung some success together and battled to an early 5-6-0 record.  Hardship struck after trading wins and losses, and the team suffered a franchise record-tying 10-game losing streak in December.  After overcoming the adversity, the Rush battled to a respectable second half, going 14-18-1-3 in the last 36 games.  A large part of the success, especially in March and April, came from a young core experiencing professional hockey for the first time, helping the Rush finish strong with wins in four of the last five games, including the final three of the season, and finished the last game with an exclamation point in a 9-6 shootout over Tulsa.

With lessons learned, an identity discovered, and new resolve, the Rush look to begin their next 10 years with a young, physical, hard-working team without an affiliation to sway the ebb and flow of the season. Led by second-year coaches Daniel Tetrault and Nello Ferrara, and the core of second-year captain Riley Weselowski, Andrew Radjenovic, Brayden Sherbinin, and 2018 Blaine Jarvis “Heart and Soul” Award-Winner Josh Elmes, the Rush look to come out of the gates strong, and lead the Rush back to the playoffs where they belong in their fifth season in the ECHL.

OVERALL COMPARISON – 2017-18 ECHL SEASON

TEAM

RECORD

POWER PLAY

PENALTY-KILL

LEADING SCORER(S)

UTAH

28-29-9-6, 71pts (6th Mountain)

15.7% (21st)

83.3% (T-14th)

Ryan Walters (63gp, 29g-34ast-63pts)

RAPID CITY

25-41-3-3, 56 Pts (7th Mountain)

16% (T-17th)

83.2% (T-16th)

Peter Sivak (62gp, 26g-35ast-61pts)

HEAD TO HEAD – 2017-18 SEASON (11 Games)

TEAM

RECORD

POWER PLAY

PENALTY-KILL

LEADING SCORER(S)

UTAH

3-7-1-0

18% (9/50)

72.5% (29/40)

Austin Ortega/Ryan Walters/Kyle Thomas (13pts Each)

RAPID CITY

8-3-0-0

27.5% (11/40)

82% (41/50)

Peter Sivak (8gp, 8g-10ast-18pts)

We Meet Again – Literally jumping right into the fire, the Rush play their first weekend of the season in the Mountain Division against the Utah Grizzlies.  After a slow start against Utah last year losing the first two games, the Rush won 8 out of the last 9 and finished 8-3-0.  There are peculiar numbers to break down in the series.  For starters, the Rush went 27.5% on the power play (11/40), and scored a power play goal in 7 of the 11 games.  Yet, despite the team’s success, Utah outshot the Rush in all but one game in the series.

Familiar Faces – The Rush return Riley Weselowski and Josh Elmes to the rivalry against Utah from last season, while Utah brings back Ryan Misiak, Taylor Richart, Ryan Walters, and Brendan Harms from last year’s series.  These aren’t the only returners to the series, as the Rush bring Chris Leibinger to the fold (despite playing with Utah last year), and Utah brings back players that have either played with the organization or against the Rush in the last three seasons, such as Matt Berry (UT 15/16), Cole Ully (ID 17/18), Joey Ratelle (COL 17/18), Kevin Carr (TUL, AK, UT), Tim McGauley (SC 16/17), Gage Ausmus (COL 17/18), and new player-assistant Teigan Zahn (COL 14-18).

Compete-Level – Despite some hardship last season, the Rush still managed to grind out quality performances.  When reviewing last season’s numbers, the Rush played in 48 games decided by 2 goals or less (13-12-3-3 in 1-goal games, 6-11-0 in 2-goal games, total record of 19-23-3-3).  The Rush were one of 8 teams to play 48 or more 2-goal games, and one of 10 to play in 31 1-goal games or more.

Young Guns – The Rush return many young players from last season that helped the team to great success down the stretch.  Brayden Sherbinin (17gp, 2g-2ast-4pts), Adam Marsh and Mitch Nardi (each 5gp, 1ast), Willem Nong-Lambert (5gp, 1g-3ast-4pts), Alec Baer (8gp, 3g-3ast-6pts), and Andrew Radjenovic in a trade with Adirondack (13gp, 9g-7ast-16pts) all come back to the fold for the Rush.

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