(ALLEN, Texas) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, square off against the Allen Americans in the series finale at 3:10 p.m. MT from the Credit Union of Texas Event Center on Saturday.
The season series is even with both teams winning one game and both teams scoring 12 goals over the course of two games. The Rush would earn their sixth win in December with a victory this afternoon.
That’s been the recap of the series so far. On Wednesday, the Rush blitzed the Americans for 10 goals in a 10-5 win. However, yesterday, the Americans hammered Rapid City in a 7-2 thrashing. The season series now stands at an even 12 goals a piece over the last two games. Both teams have scored powerplay goals in each of the last two, and the Rush managed a shorthanded marker on Wednesday.
Alex Aleardi logged his 100th and 101st ECHL assist in last night’s loss. Aleardi is the only point-per-game scorer for the Rush at this point in the season and is only eight points shy of his 200th ECHL point. Aleardi won the Kelly Cup in 2022 with the Florida Everblades and was at one point property of the Allen Americans before being traded to Rapid City (he did not dress for the Americans).
Blake Bennett enjoyed a two-point night last night as he extended his season goal total to 12. The rookie out of AIC has 18 points this season now and is top-five among all Rush scorers. Bennett has scored a goal in three of the last five games for the Rush.
Charles Martin continues to impress, logging not only top-three plus-minus ratings for the Rush, but also leading all defenseman for R.C. in assists with 13. Martin played collegiately at D-III Wisconsin-Superior, but has exclusively played his entre pro career with the Rush. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Martin has blossomed into a marvelous young blueliner.
If the Rush win today, they will have take seven of a possible 12 points on this daunting road test.
The Rush penalty kill has been unable to find consistency over the last handful of games. While Rapid City is one of the least penalized teams in the league, the PK group has surrendered goals in 10 of their last 11 games. On Dec. 16 vs. Idaho, the Rush stopped the league’s top-PP unit by not taking a single penalty. Allen’s powerplay ranks in the league’s top-10.
LET IT MO, LET IT MO, LET IT MO
Maurizio Colella has surged offensively in the last month, and scored again on Friday night. Colella, who played in Italy last season, now sits third on the team in points and is near the top of the assists record with 13. After breaking into the ECHL two years ago, Colella has found a day-in, day-out spot in R.C.
A ”FER” TREE
T.J. Fergus has now played more ECHL games for the Rush than any other team in his career. Fergus had bounced to five different organizations before settling in Rapid City where he has a goal and 10 assists through this year already. Fergus’ father, NHL veteran Tom Fergus, said in an interview, “It’s easier to play well when you’re having fun, and TJ is finding that hockey is fun again in Rapid City.”
The Rush have recaptured their powerplay magic scoring a powerplay goal in each of their last three games. The three-game streak ties the season long for the most consecutive games with a PP goal for the Rush this year who have scored five total in the last three games.
GUIDE THE SLEIGH
Logan Nelson continues to play well approaching the holidays, Though he missed the scoresheet last night, Nelson has points in eight of his last ten games and created chances yesterday, The Rush have seen Nelson and his linemates have wonderful December games this season as Rapid City looks for their sixth win in the month this afternoon.
THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS
The Americans, being injured early, have tuned to pieces that have experience against the Rush already this season. Nolan Orzeck (Iowa) saw the Rush defeat him twice at the beginning of the season while Andrew Jarvis (Tulsa) and the Oilers beat Rapid City in three games earlier this year. Brandon Yeamans is a former American forward who now plays for Rapid City.
CUTTING THE ROAST BEAST
If the Rush win this afternoon, it would guarantee the team would finish ahead of last year’s team’s pace in the month of December (7-8-0). The Rush have not had a .500 record in the month of December over the last two seasons, but a win tonight coupled with any standings point earned against Iowa at home during the next series would ensure a .500 record.