(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, are set to take on the Fort Wayne Komets tonight at 7:05 p.m. at The Monument.
A win tonight for the Rush would mark their third-straight home series victory.
The Rapid City Rush won their seventh consecutive home game on Wednesday night, to bring their overall home record to 7-7-1 this season. The Rush are also still perfect against the Central Division with wins over Iowa and Fort Wayne (6-0-0). R.C. is back inside the playoff picture, hopping Tulsa for fourth place in the Mountain Division and within one point of Allen who sits in third.
Matt Radomsky logged his fifth consecutive start making 30 or more saves. He has a winning record for the first time since being 1-0-0 after a win against Idaho and has hit his stride, shouldering more starts than any other Rush netminder this season. Radomsky has been named one of the three stars of the game in each of his last three starts.
AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE AN ‘ARDI PARTY
Alex Aleardi logged his 200th ECHL point with an assist on Maurizio Colella’s game-opening goal on Wednesday. The Rush co-captain will represented his team at the 2024 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by Gulfstream, on Monday in Savannah, Ga. Aleardi’s next milestone will be his 300th North American professional game played which he could reach as soon as tomorrow night.
While Charles Martin still leads all Rush defensemen in assists (16), T.J. Fergus is rapidly climbing the ladder as well. The Oakville, Ontario, native has three assists in the last four games for the Rush, including one on Wednesday to set up a Tyson Helgesen one-timer goal. Fergus has dressed in every Rush game this season, the only Rush blueliner who has participated in every contest this season.
KEEP ‘ER ROLLING
A win tonight for the Rush would ensure their third consecutive home series victory, and could set up R.C. to tie the franchise-long home winning streak tomorrow.
A RECAP ON PREVIOUS TIES
Cory Melkert, Fort Wayne’s assistant coach, recruited and coached both Zack Hoffman and Nick Parody in their first professional games with the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen. Goaltender Jason Pawloski played under both Komets’ Head Coach Jesse Kallechy and Melkert. Alex Aleardi was part of the 2022 Florida Everblades team that won the Kelly Cup with Kallechy as an assistant on Brad Ralph’s staff. And Komets’ goaltender Tyler Parks played 45 career games in a Rush sweater in the Daniel Tetrault era.
BENCHMARKS TO SUCCESS
Rapid City has scored the opening goal in 13 of their 16 wins this year. They have also led at the end of the first period in 13 of their victories and led at the end of the second period in 12 of their victories. The Rush did not relinquish the lead in Wednesday’s win after scoring first less than seven minutes into the game.
Rookie forward Blake Bennett continues his brilliant offensive season scoring against on Wednesday (and adding an assist). Bennett now has four goals in the last three games for the Rush and is four ahead of the next-closest Rush goal scorer (Aleardi, 12).
A BAR FOR SOPES
Jimmy Soper logged an assist Wednesday to pull him to within two points of his 200th professional point. Soper’s toughness has afforded him 337 North American professional games, with the majority of them in the ECHL. Earlier this season, he had the opportunity to play alongside his brother Kyle, now a defenseman in the SPHL with Fayetteville, and the duo enjoyed a 10-5 win over Allen.
LONG STRETCHES AHEAD
The Rush are in the midst of a five-game homestand, their first of three this season. R.C. will finish the home stretch against Idaho on January 20 before hitting the road for six-consecutive games. The team then returns home for a five-game homestand that features Affiliation Night and the School Day Game.
AND SPEAKING OF AFFILIATION NIGHT
The Rapid City Rush will host five Calgary Flames alumni during the event. Tim Hunter, the Flames all-time record holder in penalty minutes, coached against Scott Burt during their shared time in the WHL (Hunter with Moose Jaw, Burt with Spokane). Joel Otto, who won the 1989 Stanley Cup alongside Hunter, was an assistant for Kenton Helgesen’s Calgary Hitmen. Mike Commodore, Curtis Glencross, and Brian McGrattan comprise the remainder of the alumni expected to attend.
A NEW DIVISION LURKING
The Rush finish their battles with the Central Division after this weekend, with three games left against North Division teams, and a five-game stretch split against two South Division opponents.