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GAME NOTES: December 31 - Iowa Heartlanders at Rush

Sunday, December 31st
GAME NOTES: December 31 - Iowa Heartlanders at Rush

(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, close the 2023 calendar year by squaring off agaisnt the Iowa Heartlanders tonight at The Monument at 7:05 p.m.

With a win tonight, the Rush would get back to .500, and coupled with a Tulsa loss, would hop the Oilers for third place in the Mountain Division. 

 

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RUSH GO FOR SECOND STRAIGHT HOME SWEEP

After back-to-back wins vs. Iowa, the Rush are positioned for a chance to take their second straight home sweep and potentially win their sixth home game in a row. Rapid City is also just one point behind Tulsa for third place in the ECHL Mountain Division. Last night’s win marked the seventh victory in December as the Rush will celebrate the best December in the Scott Burt era. Rapid City also has a chance to wrestle a season-series sweep away from Iowa with their fifth win over the Heartlanders tonight. 

 

MAN DOWN, WHO CARES?

The Rush are now tied for fourth-place in the ECHL with four shorthanded goals this season. Alex Aleardi leads the charge with two goals as the Rush have scored shorthanded in back-to-back games. Rapid City’s penalty kill has remained sterling, killing off every penalty they’ve taken in the series against Iowa to this point. 

 

THREE GOALS IN 2:47

The Rush potted all three goals last night in just 2:47. All the scoring in last night’s game in a span of less than seven minutes, and the Rush remain in the black with a plus-nine first period goal differential. Logan Nelson earned his fourth multi-point night of the season with two goals and Alex Aleardi inched closer to history with his 196th career ECHL point (a shorthanded goal). 

 

NEW YEAR’S OUTLOOK

The Rush are undefeated against the Central Division this season (with all previous games coming against Iowa). Rapid City rounds out their Central Division opponents in two weeks when Fort Wayne visits during the next homestand. The Rush will play 23 home games in the 2024 portion of the calendar, but start the year on the road in a pivotal divisional set with Tulsa starting on Friday from BOK Center.

 

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES

The Rush have activated by forward Mason McCarty and defenseman Nick Parody for tonight’s game. Parody was signed yesterday from the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen while McCarty was acquired in exchange for cash considerations in a move with Reading on Monday. If Parody dresses tonight it would be his first ECHL game. 

 

COMING BACK

Yesterday’s 3-2 win marked only the third time this season the Rush have trailed and rallied to win. Rapid City trailed in the third period of game two of the season in Iowa before Jarrod Gourley tied the game and went on to win it in overtime. The Rush also trailed 2-1 in the third period to Wichita on December 9 before Logan Nelson tied the game and Brett Gravelle won it in overtime. Last night’s win is the first time the Rush have trailed and went on to secure a win in regulation.

 

A RECORD WEEKEND

Alex Aleardi played in his 200th ECHL game on Friday night, Keanu Yamamoto enjoyed his 100th ECHL game last night, and Brandon Yeamans will play in his 100th ECHL game tonight. Yeamans and Yamamoto join Tyson Helgesen and former-Rush-defenseman Carter Robertson as the only ones to celebrate the 100-game milestone mark in the league while Aleardi is the first Rush forward to celebrate his 200th game in the league this season. 

 

SCORING DISTRIBTUION

Prior to last night’s game, the Rush had scored in eight of nine periods against Iowa, while the Heartlanders had scored at least in a goal in seven of nine periods. The first period explosion of five goals between the two teams did not lead to an offensive slugfest, but both goaltenders settled in. The Heartlanders have outshot the Rush in each of the four previous meetings.  

 

LOOKING FOR 500

The Rush have not had a hockey .500 record since October 31 after a 3-2 heartbreaker against Kansas City. The team at one point this season was 6-11-1 at their lowest. However, a win tonight would pull the Rush back to a .500 win percentage heading into the new year. The Rush have won an average of 34.5 games in each season under Head Coach Scott Burt. 

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

The Rush and Heartlanders have dueled seven previous times in history, with only one game being decided by more than two goals. This season, the Rush have won by two twice and won by one twice

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