(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, will open up their season series on Wednesday night vs. rival Idaho.
The Steelheads are currently 11-2-0 and in firm control of second place in the Mountain Division while the 6-7-1 Rush are in sole possession of third place in the division and looking to apply pressure to the top two.
Fans attending the game may bring a small, portable radio and listen to the game on 89.7 FM without internet audio delay.
FISH ON THE MENU FOR THANKSGIVING
It’s not traditional fishing weather across the Thanksgiving weekend, but the Idaho Steelheads swim eastward with a 9-1 record in their last ten games. While the Fish are a game off the pace of the division-leading Kansas City Mavericks, Idaho has found continued offensive production and poise. The Rush are 6-7-1 and in sole control of third place in the Mountain Division entering the weekend. These two teams will face off 11 times throughout the season.
How sweet it is for the Rush that they have filled the net with powerplay goals in each of their last three games. Jimmy Soper leads the charge with two powerplay goals this season, as the Rush are 5-for-13 in their powerplay chances since snapping an 0-for-20 streak over the eight games prior to the three-game series in Wichita.
Brett Gravelle enters the weekend needing just four points to hit 100 ECHL career points. Gravelle enjoyed a three-point weekend vs. Wichita that included scoring his second and third goal of the season. Gravelle had been held without a goal since Nov. 4 prior to Saturday’s win.
The Rush are on pace to win two-thirds of the their road games this season after winning only 13 on the road all of last year. However, the Rush are 0-4-1 at home this season and in danger of tying the franchise’s worst home-losing streak (seven games in ‘18-19). The Rush enjoyed the most home wins in ECHL franchise history with 20 under Scott Burt last year.
Rapid City was only 4-9-1 vs. Idaho last season, their worst record against a divisional opponent.
A FAMILY REUNION
Scott Burt is coming off his 75th victory as an ECHL head coach. Burt has only coached the Rush in his head coaching career, but was an assistant on the Steelheads bench in 2019-20. As a player, Burt has his number 12 retired by the Steelheads organization and won two ECHL Kelly Cup Titles with Idaho.
TWO SCOOPS FOR AL
Alex Aleardi is verging on some history of his own as he enters the weekend as he is 13 goals shy of 100 in his ECHL career and only seven assists shy of 100 career ECHL assists. This puts him on a record watch, needing just 20 points to eclipse 200 ECHL points. Aleardi is the only rostered Rush player to have won a Kelly Cup Title (2022- Florida).
The rubber has finally started to fly for the Rush who outshot Wichita in each of their three contests this weekend. Prior to Friday, the Rush had outshot only one opponent (Kansas City) and were shutout in that game. Rapid City is now 2-2-0 when outshooting their opponent, and logged a single-game high for the season with 39 shots on net in Sunday’s 7-5 win.
Rapid City leads the league in first goals scored as they have scored first in 10 of their 14 games this season. The Rush are 0-4 when not scoring first and remain without a victory when trailing at the end of either the first or the second period.
LET CONNOR COOK
Since returning from a brief recall to Calgary (AHL), Connor Murphy has won back-to-back games and is 4-2-0 in his first six professional starts. Murphy did not see game action with the Wranglers, but won both Saturday and Sunday in Wichita for the Rush.
With Jarrod Gourley returning to Rapid City after a near-month-long recall to Calgary (AHL), he leads all Rush defenseman in goals, points and leads the team in plus-minus rating. Gourley broke the abysmal 0-for-20 powerplay goals drought on Friday night and proceeded to add his fourth goal of the year on Saturday. Currently, Gourley sits at a point-per-game average from the Rush blue line.
While Keanu Yamamoto has not scored many goals this season, he maintains second on the team in points with 11. Yamamoto is a returning player who is just two assists shy of Alex Aleardi’s pace of 10 assists so far this season.
Blake Bennett and Logan Nelson remain the only Rush player with a two-goal performance in a single game this season. In Sunday’s 7-5 win, Rapid City saw seven different goal-scorers representing all three lines for Scott Burt’s group. Seven goals ties for third most in a single-game under Burt, with 10 goals vs. Utah last season and eight goals vs. Kansas City earlier this month holding the top spot.
AFTER THE FEAST
The Rush will get a day to digest their first outing of 11 this year vs. Idaho. The entirety of the season series will be played in Wednesday-Friday-Saturday splits with the exception of a back-to-back showdown on Friday and Saturday, January 19 and 20 at The Monument.