(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, take on the Idaho Steelheads tonight at 7:05 p.m. at The Monument.
The Rush are six games behind Idaho in the standings, but earned three of a possible six points against the Steelheads during the last series in Idaho.
RUSH RENEW RIVALRY WITH STEELHEADS
The Rapid City Rush stay at home to wrap up their first of three five-game homestands this weekend against the Idaho Steelheads. The Steelheads have lost a lot of familiar faces to call-ups and recalls, including Mark Rassell who has enjoyed a scoring tear with the Calgary Wranglers. The Rush took three of six possible points from the Steelheads in the last series between these two teams and earned their first win in Boise in over two years.
BIG BLUELINE GUYS
The Rush received the services of Jarrod Gourley and Will Riedell via assignment from the Wranglers this week. Rapid City has recently been shorthanded on the blueline and have been forced to play with 12 forwards and five defenseman eight times since the mid-December road trip. The Rush will be without both Kenton Helgesen and TJ Fergus on the backend as they have both been placed on the injured reserve list.
Matt Radomsky is once against expected to shoulder most of the workload in net after Connor Murphy was recalled by the Wranglers on Thursday afternoon. Radomsky is 10-9-2 this season and has made more starts than any other goaltender for the Rush this year, including four consecutive starts since January 7. Jason Pawloski is 2-1-0, but earned a win over Idaho on December 16 in Boise.
CAN YOU FEEL THE POWER
The Rush scored four powerplay goals against Fort Wayne in three games this past week. The powerplay explosion helped propel the Rush to a 9-5 drubbing of the Komets on Saturday night, making it the fourth time this season the Rush have scored eight or more goals. R.C. has won each of those contests this season by four or more goals.
The Rush started the season 0-7-1-0 at home this year, however, since December the team is 8-1-0-0 at home with only a single loss to Fort Wayne last Friday. The Rush won 20 games at home last season, a franchise best since joining the ECHL in 2014-15. The Rush are an even 3-3-0 in January since going 8-4-1 in December.
Logan Nelson’s three-point night against Fort Wayne on Saturday catapulted him to 398 career professional points. Nelson, a Minnesota-native, has played all of his pro career in North America and was drafted by the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Nelson is also set to become just the sixth player in Rush history (CHL and ECHL) to play 200 games in a Rush uniform.
DU YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU JUST SAW?
Rookie forward Mark Duarte had a career-high offensive output vs. Fort Wayne on Saturday night. Duarte was named the game’s first star with two goals and two assists. Duarte was red-hot to open the season, keeping pace with Blake Bennett for the team lead in goals through November. However, an AHL recall for Duarte did not allow for him to continue his scoring run. Duarte was an OHL prospect last season with the Soo Greyhounds before earning his AHL deal with the Calgary Wranglers.
CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
The Rush are locked in at fourth in ECHL’s Mountain Division with Allen one point behind and Tulsa one point ahead. The Idaho Steelheads have maintained an iron grasp on second place in the division, but the Rush can close the deficit to within a single-digit point total this weekend. The Steelheads are shorthanded without Mark Rassell and Keaton Mastrodonato both currently skating in the AHL. Rassell, a Calgary-area native, is currently playing with the Calgary Wranglers.
“I’LL DO THAT ANY DAY”
Some Rush players had the opportunity to visit with individuals at the Northern Hills Training Center in Spearfish on Thursday afternoon. NHTC helps individuals with cognitive disabilities learn vocational trades, gain employment, and work towards self-sufficiency. The Rush got to take photos, give a short presentation, and play a few rounds of cornhole with people who use the services of the facility. Logan Nelson, Keanu Yamamoto, Tyson Helgesen and Matt Radomsky made the field trip.
“That’s awesome… those people are just great,” said Nelson. “I’ll do that any day.”
GETTING SOME MILEAGE
The Rush will embark on a six-game, 13-day, two-city road trip starting on Tuesday. Rapid City will meet Utah for the first time this season from Maverik Center on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and then pack up for Portland, Maine, to meet the Maine Mariners for the first time in franchise history.