(WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, take on the Utah Grizzlies tonight at 7:10 p.m. from Maverik Center.
The Rush and Grizzlies will see each other seven more times after tonight's game, five more times in Utah and three times in Rapid City.
FRIDAY NIGHT ICE
The Rapid City Rush have seen new opponents in two of their last three series, and despite being divisional opponents, the Rush had not seen Utah all season prior to Wednesday’s tilt. The Grizzlies, fresh off receiving four key players back into their lineup, gave up the game’s first goal on Wednesday, but scored three of the next four, and added an empty netter to secure their 12th home win of the season. Rapid City is one game below .500 on the road for only the second time this season. The Rush have not been swept in a road series all year long.
ONE MORE 4 NELSON
Logan Nelson is one point shy of his 400th professional point. Nelson hit 350 career ECHL points with his goal 11 seconds into Wednesday’s game. The 10th year forward from Rogers, Minn., played one year in the SPHL during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the leading scorer for the Birmingham Bulls that season and was teammates with Grizzlies forward Tyler Penner. Nelson is set to become the second player in Rush history to eclipse 400 career ECHL points in his career. (Jesse Schultz, 419). Nelson is already the sixth-leading scorer in Rush history with 176 of his 399 career points coming with the Rush.
RADOMSKY BRICK CO.
Matt Radomsky leads the ECHL in saves (719) and is currently fourth in minutes played (1384). The rookie netminder from Alaska-Fairbanks has won 10 games in his first ECHL season and has twice seen stints of five-consecutive starts or more.
The Rapid City Rush are 3-10-0 on Fridays this season and have lost their last five road Friday games. Rapid City has claimed 10 of their 17 victories on Saturday or Sunday, and the Rush have three of their six games on the road trip during those weekend days.
PUCKS ON NET
The Rush have exploded for more than 30 shots-on-goal in each of their last four games. However, in their last three games, the Rush have been outscored 15-5. The offense exploded for a 9-5 thrashing of Fort Wayne on Saturday, January 13, but since then has averaged less than two goals per game.
Rush defenseman Will Riedell and Grizzlies blueliner Josh Wesley are both products of North Carolina. Riedell, hailing from Greensboro, won the U16 1A USA Hockey national title in 2013 before heading off to a strong college career at Lake Superior State and Ohio State. Josh, born in Harford, Conn., but raised in Raleigh, and the son of former NHL-er Glen Wesley, was a AAA player with the burgeoning Carolina Jr. Hurricanes program but headed to the U.S. National Teen Developmental Program for juniors before being drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014. Until Wednesday, the two had not faced off against each other in league play in their careers from youth hockey through their AHL and ECHL careers.
BURT’S QUEST FOR 100 CONTINUES
Scott Burt’s ECHL head coaching record includes 86 wins and he attempts to collect 100 in only three seasons worth of work. Burt, born in British Columbia, is set to be involved in his 1000th ECHL game as a player, assistant coach, or head coach, in March of this year.
ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM
The Rush have seen a fight in each of their last three games now, the longest such streak of the season. Wednesday, it was Brandon Yeamans going toe-to-toe with Aaron Aragon, while Tyson Helgesen and Zack Hoffman dropped the mitts in last week’s games against Tulsa. Helgesen leads the team in individual fighting appearances with five to this point in the season.
LOOKIE AT THE ROOKIES
Despite not scoring on his team-leading six shots on Wednesday, Blake Bennett still leads the Rush in goals with 16 this season. Fellow rookie Charles Martin is pacing the Rush blueline in assists with 18 this season. Martin is ranked third in overall team assists for R.C. Between the pipes, rookies Connor Murphy and Matt Radomsky have combined for 15 of the 17 wins by the Rush this season.
GETTING TO THE THIRD AHEAD
The Rush are 13-1-2 this season when reaching the third period with the lead. It has been over a month since the Rush did not preserve a regulation win with a lead at start of the third (Dec. 13 at Idaho). The Rush have excelled in close games though, going 9-4-2 in games decided by only a goal.
The Rush are 1-for-14 in their last three games on the powerplay. While the team only had one chance in Wednesday’s loss, the Rush are 11-8-0 this season when scoring on the powerplay. Rapid City is a perfect 4-0-0 on the year when they score more than once on the powerplay.