(TULSA, Okla.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, will square off with the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. MT at BOK Center.
The Rush are coming off an 8-4 drubbing of the top-of-the-division Kansas City Mavericks, 8-4 last night. Tulsa did not skate yesterday, but has earned three points in their last two games against Allen.
A win for Rapid City would push them ahead of Wichita for third place in the Mountain Division.
FINALLY, A NEW OPPONENT
After skating in five straight games against the Kansas City Mavericks, who are atop the Mountain Division, the Rush will face the Tulsa Oilers for a Sunday matinee. The Oilers and Rush will play each other in four straight games, capping off a stretch of nine contests vs. only two difference opponents for Rapid City. The Rush have defeated Tulsa more than any other ECHL club in team history, with 52 wins over the Oilers.
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS
During the offensive onslaught of last night’s 8-4 win, the Rush enjoyed seeing many players get on the board for the first time this season. Logan Nelson scored his first two goals of the season Keltie Jeri-Leon and Brett Gravelle scored their first goals of the season as well.
A GREAT 8
The eight goals scored last night were the most goals in the Scott Burt-era since March 5, 2022 when the Rush blitzed Utah for a 10-2 win. Only Logan Nelson scored multiple goals last night for R.C. with one being a late-game empty-netter. Rapid City scored seven goals in two games last season.
PENALTY KILL GETS STRONGER
After allowing a powerplay goal against in each of their first four games, the Rush ceded only one to the K.C. Mavericks fourth-ranked powerplay on the road during their last three. During the week, the Rush PK has improved to 9-of-10 this week where there were under 70% before Tuesday’s game.
THE THIRD PERIOD
The Rush entered yesterday’s contest at a -4 goal differential in the third period, but squashed the deficit to only one after scoring five goals in the final frame yesterday. Rapid City scored four goals on five shots to chase Jack LaFontaine after giving up his seventh of the night on only 19 total shots.
NEEDING TO SPLIT ON THE ROAD
A win tonight would send Rapid City over .500, break a tie with Wichita for third in the division, and send the team back with five points over the last five games – a decent start for a team that missed the post-season last year. Head Coach Scott Burt has maintained that splitting series on the road is the key to success away from The Monument and Sunday’s game is a chance to hold true. Rapid City won only 13 road games last year and have racked up three road wins in five tries so far this season.
The Rush have struggled on the man-advantage going only 2-for-17, including a 0-for-5 showing on Friday night in Kansas City. The Rush powerplay was held in check by a Mavericks PK group that was ranked 27th of 28 teams in the league. Currently the Rush are 0 for their last 9 PP chances.
Rapid City only traveled 19 players on their four-game, two-city, seven-day road trip. That means the same lineup that played Tuesday in K.C. will dress in some fashion for tonight’s game vs. Tulsa. The Rush have varied their dressed roster only three times this season in what will be eight games after tonight.
ENDING THE ROAD STRETCH
Rapid City has opened the season with six road games across three cities in less than three weeks having only played two home games to this point. The Rush will enjoy a three-game homestand before heading back out to Wichita in two weeks time. The Rush will enjoy two five-game homestands and a six-game homestand after the turn of the calendar year to offset the early season road trips.
THIRD LINE FINDS STRIDE
The Rapid City third line of Keltie Jeri-Leon, Conner Bleackley, and Blake Bennett leads the team in single-line goal scoring of all lines that haven’t changed this season. Jeri-Leon scored his first on Saturday night while Bennett leads the team in goals with four.
Last night was the first time all season Rapid City had allowed four goals in regulation. Previously, the Rush tandem had allowed four only once in a 4-3 OT loss to Kansas City on Saturday, October 28. The rookie tandem of goaltenders are both on Calgary (AHL) contracts and have been as good as advertised with better-than .900 GAAs to this point in the season.
SOPER RETURNS TO TULSA
Jimmy Soper dressed in 105 games for the Tulsa Oilers over his ECHL career and scored 29 goals for Tulsa in that stretch. He was also able to log games beside his brother Kyle with the Oilers (Kyle is an SPHL defenseman in Fayetteville currently). While it is not his first time facing off vs. his old team – it will be his second time back at the BOK Center since being acquired in a trade last year.
BURT CLOSE TO 75 WINS
Scott Burt won his 72nd ECHL game as a head coach last night. Based on his pace of 36 wins and 33 wins in his first two seasons, Burt is poised to eclipse 100 wins as a head coach this season.