(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, host the Kansas City Mavericks to close out the weekend tonight at The Monument at 7:05 p.m.
The Rush held a 2-0 lead in last night's contest vs. K.C., but failed to capitalize on chances down the stretch. The Mavericks scored three unanswered goals, including a powerplay game-winner with 1:32 left, to secure a 3-2 comeback win. The 4-0-0 start for the Mavs is their best since 2013-14.
KC SNATCHES VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT FRIDAY
After trailing 2-0 midway through the game, the Kansas City Mavericks found a way to score three unanswered goals and snatch a 3-2 regulation victory over the Rush last night. Cade Borchardt and Kyle Jackson both scored on the powerplay, a man-advantage unit that went 2-for-3 on the night and ultimately made the difference in the game. K.C. was the benefactor of a late cross-checking call against Keanu Yamamoto to set up Jackson’s game-winning goal. The Mavericks also outshot Rapid City 50-31 in the game.
Connor Murphy stonewalled 47 shots in the 3-2 loss. Murphy’s performance in the highest save total of any Rush goaltender this season. While Matt Radomsky is the anticipated started, Murphys’ marvelous performance last night earned him third star honors despite the loss.
ANOTHER SHOT… FOR SHOTS
Rapid City’s 31 shots on goal yesterday were the most in a game this season for R.C., but the team has been outshot in each of their three games this season. Head Coach Scott Burt said, “I’m not so much worried about shots, but I’m worried about chances.” The Rush have given up at least 28 shots in each of the first three games this season and have been outpaced by at least 10 in two of three games.
THE SPECIAL TEAMS WOES AND WOWS
The Rush were 1-for-2 on the powerplay last night with Conner Bleackley scoring on the PP. The penalty kill however gave up two goals and now sits at 67% on the season. The Rush have yielded a powerplay goal against in each of their games this season, with two of the four coming in the third period. On the powerplay though, R.C. has scored in back-to-back games, keeping them in the upper half of all ECHL powerplays.
ROBO HITS 100
Carter Robertson will dress in his 100th ECHL game tonight. Robertson is the longest-ECHL-tenured defenseman on the Rapid City roster this season and has spent all but five games in the ECHL in his professional career.
Matt Radomsky is the expected starter for tonight’s game. Radomsky stopped 34 in his season-opening win (his first pro win). The Winnipeg-native has also paced the Mountain Division with a .944 save-percentage. Radomsky ranked sixth in NCAA wins last season with Alaska-Fairbanks and 7th in NCAA GAA.
THE FAST START
The Rush have managed to score in every first period this season, marking five goals of the team’s total of ten being scored in the opening frame. Making matters more impressive is that the Rush have scored before the 12-minute mark of each first period. Rapid City has also outshot their opponent in only one period of the nine they’ve played this season… the first period of the first game in Iowa (18-7). Without Rapid City’s first period, they would have lost or been tied in every game this season after 60 minutes.
SOME TITLES TIES
Alex Aleardi is the only Rush player to own a Kelly Cup title. Aleardi along with Jake McLaughlin and Jake Jaremko won the championship with the Florida Everblades in 2021-22, the first of back-to-back titles for the ‘Blades.
AND SOME SPIRE FAMILY TIES TOO
Both Justin Nachbaur and Luke Santerno dressed for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits last season, the other team in the Spire Hockey family. Nachbaur paced the Rabbits with 177 penalty minutes last season. The Rush will head to Greenville for the first time in two years at the end of February this season.
MONKEY OFF THE HORSE’S BACK
Kansas City never had a winning record over Rapid City last season, only holding a 1-1 record vs. the Rush after the home opening weekend in 2022-23. In fact, Rapid City has defeated Kansas City more than every other ECHL opponent except Tulsa and Utah. Prior to last night’s win, Kansas City had not won inside The Monument in 365 days.
BLEACKLEY BREAKS THROUGH
Conner Bleackley’s goal and assist last night mark his first points in a Rush uniform. Bleackley is one of only 89 NHL draftees who were drafted twice by NHL clubs. Bleackley was a 2014 first-round selection of the Colorado Avalanche, but never signed a deal after his junior career ended. He was then drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL draft.
THE WEARER OF THE “C”
Logan Nelson donned the captaincy for the first time in his ECHL career last night. He will wear the “C” at home for the first half of the season before Alex Aleardi will assume home captaincy duties and Nelson will take over as team captain on the road. Nelson and Aleardi are the only two designated veterans on the Rush roster, with Nelson entering his 10th ECHL season and Aleardi coming into his third after stints in Europe and the American Hockey League
While the Rush and the Mavericks square off nine times this season, the first come in sequential order, the longest streak of the season vs. the same opponent for Rapid City. The next time these two teams will see each other is in February, a full three months between contests from November 4 to February 9.