(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, will face the Kansas City Mavericks for the fourth-consecutive game on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. MT. The Rush are winless vs. the Mavericks this season, but did manage a point in an overtime loss a week ago at The Monument.
RUSH/MAVS 3: YOU KNEW WHAT WAS COMING
The Rapid City Rush played their most complete game against the Kansas City Mavericks on Tuesday night, holding the Mavericks to just 30 shots on goal and managing them to no powerplay success. However, with 4:19 left in the game, Cole Coskey beat Connor Murphy to send K.C. to their sixth straight win and their third-in-a-row over the Rush. Despite Rapid City’s cleaner defensive effort, turnovers and bad bounces took their toll on a Rush team that only had five shots on goal in the final period of play.
IT'S A POSSESSION GAME
Rapid City out-possessed the puck vs. Kansas City for the first time on Tuesday, holding the puck 52% of the time. However, Rapid City was held without a powerplay goal for the third game of the season and have yet to outshoot an opponent in any game this year. The Rush have been outshot in 11 of 15 periods this season, three of those periods were tied in shots on goal.
The Rush defense corps tallied 11 blocked shots in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss, but also had 22 shots blocked by the K.C. defense. Finding shooting lanes has been difficult for the Rush who have been held to under 30 shots in every game this season except for last Friday night at home vs. Kansas City (31).
Remaining a bright spot for the Rush is the goaltending tandem of Matt Radomsky and Connor Murphy. Murphy (1-2), notched 27 saves in a 3-2 loss, many of them heroic to keep R.C. in the game down the stretch. Radomsky (1-0-1) has back-to-back 30+ save games to his name. Both goaltenders are rookies coming directly from NCAA hockey and are both on Calgary Wranglers contracts. K.C.’s goaltender Cale Morris (3-0) has won his two starts vs. the Rush and was named the Warrior ECHL Goaltender of the Month on Thursday for October.
DON’T CALL THEM 3rd LINERS
The Rush have seen offensive production from their bottom-five forwards in each of the last three games and four of the opening five. Blake Bennett has three goals to this point and is tied for the team lead in the category. Conner Bleackley and Keltie-Jeri Leon both have two assists to this point, and Maurizio Colella scored his first of the season on Tuesday night.
Mark Duarte is tied for the team lead in goals (3) and comes to the Rush on an AHL contract with the Calgary Wranglers. Duarte, 21, from Hamitlon, Ont., played most of his career with the hometown Hamilton Bulldogs, but was cut before the start of last season. He was debating playing junior-A hockey with Peter Drikos’ Cobourg Cougars but was picked up by the Soo Greyhounds as an over-ager. His play this season has catapulted him into the eye of the ECHL. Duarte is one goal behind K.C. Mavs forward Cade Borchardt for second in ECHL rookie goals.
IT’S NOT ABOUT SHOTS, IT’S ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES
Rapid City ranks 27th of 28 teams in average shots per game this season. However, both Jimmy Soper and Jarrod Gourley (recalled to to Calgary-AHL) are in the top-5 in league shooting percentage. Rapid City is averaging just 25 shots per game.
BUT JUST HOW GOOD ARE THOSE GOALIES
The Rush allow on average the third-most shots on goal of any team in the ECHL, just barely ahead of Florida and Allen. But, the Rush allow the 7th fewest goals per game and, of teams that have played 5+ games, have allowed the second fewest goals period. This is made even more impressive considers the Rush net has been shelled for 198 total shots, the third most overall in the league.
100th PRO GAME FOR PARRISH
Weiland Parrish is slated to skate in his 100th pro game tonight. He has split his career between Pensacola (SPHL) and Rapid City.
AVOIDING THE SKID
Playing common opponents often is a quirk of the Rapid City schedule, but avoiding the long, same-team losing streaks is critical. Last season, the Rush lost four-straight to the same opponent twice (Idaho and Allen) and missed the playoffs by a game-and-a-half. They did not lose five-straight to any single opponent.
RAPID STARTS FOR THE RUSH
The Rush have scored the opening goal of the game in every contest this season. They have scored in every first period. They have also scored before the 10-minute mark in three of five games this season. The fast start has allowed R.C. to not enter a third period this season as a trailing team. But, the Rush have only been able to muster one win this season when trailing at any point in the third period (10.19 in Iowa).
Head Coach Scott Burt maintains that his team is playing good hockey and does not need to panic. “We’re learning how to win right now,” said Burt, “We’re learning how to win and when the season comes down to it, we’ll be the team getting the bounces they’re getting right now.” Burt and the Rush have won 36 and 33 games in the last two seasons, with the 2021-22 season marking the first playoff year for the Rush since 2014-15.
BIG DAWGS IN THE HOUSE
Spire Holdings president Todd Macki and Rush president Jared Reid are expected to attend the final two games of the season. Mackin and Reid were co-workers with the Mavs prior to joining the Rush.
SO… WHAT DID YOU DO ON YOUR DAYS OFF?
The Rush enjoyed some of Kansas City’s best burnt ends and barbecue at Jack Stack on Thursday night. The team also toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during a tour curated by NLBM president Bob Kendrick. Mr. Kendrick can be heard during the first intermission of tonight’s broadcast.