(ALLEN, Texas) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, take on the Allen Americans tonight from the Credit Union of Texas Event Center at 6:10 p.m.
The Rush have won four of their last six and have taken at least a standings point in five of their last six. The surge has erased a seven-point deficit in the ECHL Mountain Division standings as the Rush are now tied with Wichita for the final playoff spot in the division
IT’S ALWAYS BIGGER IN TEXAS
The Rapid City Rush roll into the Lone Star State having won four of their last six and taken standings points in five of their last six. The Rush nabbed three points off the top-of-the-league Idaho Steelheads this past week and are tied with Wichita for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division. Allen and Rapid City have history together – dating back to the CHL when Rapid City defeated Allen in the 2010 Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final.
A WORD ON SPECIAL TEAMS
The Rush snapped Idaho’s 10-game powerplay goal streak on Saturday during their 7-4 win. The Rush also halted an eight-game streak allowing a powerplay goal to opponents. How did they do it? By not taking a single penalty. The Rush are the league’s fourth-least penalized team and average under 10 penalty minutes per game. Rapid City also scored twice on two powerplay chances in Saturday’s win to crank the powerplay percentage up from 13 percent to over 15 percent. Rapid City is 7-3-0 when scoring a powerplay goal this season.
Keanu Yamamoto, Logan Nelson, and Brett Gravelle enjoyed productive weeks against Idaho, in a game filled with their playmaking. Nelson logged three assists, Yamamoto earned a goal and an assist, and Gravelle scored a hat trick in addition to adding an assist. Gravelle’s hat trick makes him the first Rush player since Max Coatta (January 7, 2023 vs. Utah) to earn a hat trick. Nelson meanwhile has scored at least a point in six of his last seven games.
PAWLOSKI EARNS BIG WIN
Rush goaltender Jason Pawloski improved his record to 2-0-0 on the season with a win on Saturday. Pawloski logged 33 saves, one shy of his ECHL career single-game high. Pawloski earned his first ECHL win in 22 months on December 8 in a OT win over Wichita.
MAKING IT A 40-MINUTE GAME
The Rush are 7-1-2 this season when leading after 40 minutes of play this season. All three of those losses have come against Kansas City and Idaho (the top two teams in the division). The Rush led at the end of the second period in Saturday’s win as well as Wednesday’s 5-4 OT loss in Idaho
ONE SHOT TO WIN IT
The Rush are also tied for the league lead in game-opening goals (15). Rapid City has won nine of the games in which they have scored first, including each of the last three when they have led off the scoring. R.C.’s only win this season when not scoring first was on Saturday, December 9, when the Rush needed a last-minute goal from Logan Nelson to tie the game and set up Brett Gravelle’s OT winner on Teddy Toss Night.
DROPPING THE YAMMER DOWN
Keanu Yamamoto’s goal on Saturday was the ECHL top play of the week. Yamamoto scored twice and had an assist in Saturday’s 7-4 win over Idaho. Coincidentally, his goal beat out Allen forward Easton Brodzinski’s goal from last week against Kansas City.
BAND OF BROTHERS
In the most intriguing storyline of the week, D Kyle Soper and F Jimmy Soper have been reunited on the ice. Kyle has been an SPHL standout defenseman with 13 points in 19 games in Fayetteville this season. He and his older brother, Jimmy, have only played three professional games together (2021-22 in Tulsa). The brothers from Waterloo, Ont. are expected to see ice time together during this series as Kyle makes his return to the ECHL.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Rush will have only one more six-game road trip this season (Jan. 25-Feb. 4, at Utah and Allen). Rapid City is a better-than-.500 team on the road this season at 7-5-1 and are more than halfway to last season’s total road wins. The Rush have not been swept in a series on the road this season and return from every road trip with a minimum a three points.
NOT TAKING THEM LIGHTLY
Prior to tonight’s game the Rush have played exclusively against teams in the current ECHL playoff picture (that’s a full first third of the season). Allen is the first team the Rush have played that is currently outside the playoffs right now. That being said, Allen upended Kansas City once last week and came within one goal of doing it twice. Rapid City has the fewest wins against Allen of any Mountain Division team historically.
HUMP DAY, SLUMP DAY, AND PUMP-IT-UP DAY
The Rush are 0-1-1 in Wednesday games this season and Friday has been the team’s worst weekday this season with only one win in their last seven Friday games. However, Saturday the Rush have a winning record of 4-2-1 including wins in each of their last three Saturday games. The Rush have played on every day of the week except for Monday this season, with Saturday holding the most individual wins.
With two assists on Saturday, Charles Martin now has nine on the season to lead all Rush defensemen in the category. Martin is also leading all d-men in plus-minus with a +7 rating. That ties co-captain Logan Nelson for the second on the team in the category.