(TULSA, Okla.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, take on the Tulsa Oilers from BOK Center tonight at 6:05 p.m.
The Rush are one point ahead of the Oilers in the ECHL Mountain Division standings heading into a pivotal series against Tulsa this weekend.
BATTLE FOR DIVISIONAL POSITION STARTS TONIGHT
The Rush were seven points out of a playoff spot on Dec. 4, clambering for any bit of success to hold on to. However, the Rush went 8-4-1 in December, the best December in the Scott Burt era, and are now one point ahead of Tulsa in the Mountain Division standings. Tulsa may be the league’s most improved team this year and have often boasted a better-than-.500 record until slip-ups against Utah this past weekend. The Oilers are 3-1-0 against the Rush this season with the road team winning every game of the season series.
WHAT A START TO 24 for 42
Alex Aleardi was named the Rush representative to the 2024 Warrior ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Gulfstream on Wednesday. The veteran forward is slated to make his first ECHL All-Star appearance and is the only Rush player averaging a point per game this year. Aleardi will also celebrate his 500th non-cup, non-tournament game, regular season game in his career. Aleardi has seen action in 536 career non-playoff games and an additional 82 playoff games in a distinguished career. The Fort Wayne, Ind. native is only four points shy of his 200th ECHL career point and is six goals shy of 100 career goals in the league.
Logan Nelson is riding a seven-game point scoring streak at home, but remains poised to continue his production on the road. The soon-to-be father in April led the charge with a game-opening assist on the powerplay in Sunday’s win and scored twice in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Iowa. Nelson is burgeoning on his 400th career professional point and is 20 games shy of his 500th ECHL career game. Nelson is also poised to become just the sixth player in all-time franchise history to play 200 games in a Rush sweater.
FUEL TO THE FIRE
Historically, the Rush have more wins over Tulsa than any other ECHL team since joining the league.
The Rush PK unit was 11-for-12 against Iowa, their best PK showing of the season in any three-game stretch. The Rush powerplay groups have logged seven PP goals in the last seven games, marking their best stretch of play of the season as well.
“Special teams is where you win and lose your hockey games,” Head Coach Scott Burt remarked in a December pregame interview. The Rush are 9-5-0 when scoring on the powerplay this season.
HOLY MOLY WHAT A GOALIE
The Rush used back-to-back 30-plus save performances from Matt Radomsky and a 30-plus save performance by Connor Murphy to earn their second three-game weekend sweep of the season. Radomsky has battled his record back to near .500 at 7-7-2 while Murphy is quickly gaining ground at 5-7-0, but has seen less action on his callups to Calgary.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
The Rush are over .500 on the road this season, but after an 0-7-1 start at home, Rapid City has won six straight at home. The six-in-a-row puts R.C. is rarified air, as with three more home wins against Fort Wayne starting next week, the Rush would tie the franchise record for consecutive home victories.
A RECAP OF RECORDS
Brandon Yeamans and Keanu Yamamoto played in their 100th career ECHL games this past weekend vs. Iowa while Alex Aleardi logged his 200th career game. Yamamoto and Yeamans join Tyson Helgesen and former-Rush defenseman Carter Robertson as members of the 100-game club. Aleardi is the first Rush player this season to hit the 200-game club.
SOME BUSINESS TO TAKE CARE OF
Tulsa’s Luka Profaca boarded Rush forward Logan Nelson in the November 9 game in Rapid City. While the Oilers would go on to win all three, Profaca’s life was made particularly difficult by Tyson Helgesen and Will Riedell. The Rush have fought five times against Tulsa, more than any other opponent this season.
SOPER BACK IN OIL COUNTRY
Jimmy Soper was a beloved former Oiler who has made some memories against Tulsa this season. Soper logged his 100th career ECHL point at BOK Center on November 5, and had the opportunity to play with his brother Kyle in a game against Allen on December 20. The Soper brothers had not played together since a three-game stretch when they were with the Oilers.
WHO’S THE NEW GUY?
Nick Parody was acquired on a call-up from SPHL Fayetteville on Saturday and made his ECHL debut on Sunday. Parody, who played college hockey at Canisius and Elmira College, has four assists in 23 games with the SPHL’s Marksmen this season. He is the second callup this season from Fayetteville, with the other being Kyle Soper.