(WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the Calgary Flames, start off their six-game road trip with a visit to the Utah Grizzlies tonight at 7:10 p.m. This will be the first of nine meetings between the Rush and the Grizzlies this season.
Rapid City is 9-9-1-0 this season away from The Monument and is looking to improve their road record against the Grizzlies who are currently 6th in the Mountain Division.
LAST TIME VS. UTAH : February 11, 2023 - Utah 3 @ Rush 4
Adam Carlson made 35 saves in a thrilling 4-3 OT win for the Rush. Matt Marcinew scored twice as neither team was able to separate further than a goal away from the other. 42 seconds into overtime, Calder Brooks scored the game-winning goal for his 19th goal of the year, with assists from Marcinew and Carlson.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Rapid City Rush are officially on their longest road trip by time and distance as they meet the Utah Grizzlies for the first time this season tonight. The Rush have spent one day this season with an under-.500 road record (January 6), but won the next day in Tulsa to recuperate. Neither of the Rush’s next two opponents are currently in the playoff picture, with Utah sitting 6th in the Mountain Division and Maine just one point out of things in the North Division.
OH BOY, OH BOY!
Simon Boyko agreed to terms with the Rush on Tuesday and met the team in West Valley City this morning. Boyko is returning to the ECHL after his five-game debut with Norfolk last year. Currently, Boyko is the team’s leading scorer with the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen where he has 37 points in 30 games. The Ontario-native won the AJHL championship with the Brooks Bandits in 2019 and parlayed that into two seasons of NCAA division-I hockey at Vermont.
THE BOYS ON THE BLUE LINE
Jarrod Gourley and Will Riedell are riding two-game point streaks since returning from the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers. Both blueliners have a goal and an assist in the last two games, bringing Riedell to five points with the Rush this season, and Gourley to 11 points with the Rush.
THE RUBBER CRISIS
Prior to this past weekend’s games, the Rush had not outshot Idaho all season long. The Rush outshot the Steelheads in back-to-back games and have improved their shots-on-goal differential to within three shots of opponents in just six weeks. The Rush are also out of the league’s bottom three in both penalty kill and powerplay for the first time since November after the powerplay scored on Friday.
DID YOU “C” THE SWITCHAROO?
Scott Burt named Alex Aleardi and Logan Nelson team co-captains on October 18, 2023, with one taking the “C” on the road during the first half of the year, and the other holding the honor in the second half of the year. After Aleardi’s All-Star appearance, Nelson has taken over road captaincy duties and will wear the “C” away from home the rest of the year. Aleardi enjoyed his first home captaincy during last week’s games.
“I think it’s great to have someone to lean on,” said Aleardi. “We’re both first-time ECHL captains, and we’re different, but it’s good that we have each other to go through that with.”
Logan Nelson is just two points shy of his 400th career professional point. He is also set to dress is his 489th ECHL game this evening. Nelson is set to hit 500 games in the league on February 22 in Greenville. That night, he would also become just the sixth player in Rush history to dress in 200 games for the Rush (CHL and ECHL included).
HOCKEY HISTORY AT THE MAVERIK CENTER
The Maverik Center was home to the 2002 men’s ice hockey Olympic final that saw Team Canada defeat Team USA, 5-2. The victory was Canada’s first Olympic gold medal since 1952, and the team included two Calgary Flames alumni in Jarome Iginla and Theoren Fleury.
When the six-game road trip ends, the Rush ill have 17 home games left with only 11 remaining on the road. The remaining home games includes one five and one six-game homestand for the Rush in addition to a series in early March against the Savannah Ghost Pirates, for the first ever meeting between the Ghost Pirates and the Rush.
The Rush have taken standings points in three of their four Wednesday contests this season, with their only regulation loss coming on November 9 against Tulsa. In a unique twist, at season’s end, the Rush will have played at least one game on every day of the week this season.
MAKING IT A 40-MINUTE GAME
When the Rush lead after two periods, the team is 13-1-2 this season. Rapid City has also scored first in 14 of their 17 wins this year and led at the end of the first period in 14 of their 17 wins this season. Rapid City has also scored the game-opening goal in 22 of their 38 games this season.