(TULSA, Okla.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, end the season series against the Tulsa Oilers this afternoon at 3:05 p.m. from BOK Center.
The Rush are 1-5-0 this season against the Oilers, and will look to pull within one point of Tulsa in the standings with a win today.
RUSH LOOK TO AVOID SECOND THREE-GAME SWEEP BY TULSA
The Rapid City Rush went 8-4-1 in December, but now stare a potential sweep at the hands of their division rivals, Tulsa, in the face. The Rush are 1-5-0 against the Oilers this season, despite 53 franchise ECHL wins over Tulsa, the most vs. any ECHL opponent in Rush history. Eddie Matsushima now has nine points against Rapid City this season. Meanwhile, the Rush have lost each of the last five games against the Oilers by three goals, the second largest margin of defeat this season (7-2, at Allen)
YOU’RE KILLING ME (AND I LOVE IT)
Despite being outscored 9-3 in the last two games, the Rush have allowed only one powerplay goal in their last 20 kill attempts. From a scoring breakdown, Tulsa has scored six even strength goals and three empty-netters in the series. Rapid City’s penalty kill is now at 75.6 percent, their highest mark since early December.
A NOTE ON SHUTOUTS
The Rush have been shutout eight times since the team last secured a shutout win of their own. Lukas Parik’s 46-save showing against Utah on Dec. 27, 2021, is the last time R.C. posted a clean sheet. Calle Clang made 33 saves in last night’s win, in his ECHL debut, after 20 games with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls all-time. The Rush have twice been shutout by goaltenders making their season debuts in the ECHL as Jack LaFontaine made 28 stops in an 3-0 Kansas City win over the Rush on November 3.
POURING OUT SHOTS
Rapid City has been outshot in every game this season against Tulsa. Moreover, the Oilers have peppered the Rush with 40 or more shots in four of the six games this year.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Jason Pawloski registered 41 saves in last night’s 3-0 loss to Tulsa. The 41-stop performance is a single-game high in Pawloski’s career, despite suffering his first loss of the season. Pawloski has not played ECHL hockey since 2021-22 when he earned two wins for the Kalamazoo Wings. Pawloski strung together 27 victories over the last two seasons with the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen. Pawloski will faceoff against his previous two SPHL coaches in Jesse Kallechy and Cory Melkert, who took over the reigns of the Central Division’s Fort Wayne Komets.
GOING HOME, FOR A WHILE
Last night marked the halfway mark of the Rush road slate for the season. The team is just a game back of .500 on the road this year. Rapid City will get to enjoy their first of three five-game homestands starting Wednesday against Fort Wayne. The Rush have only seen 15 games of home action to this point, but have won their last six straight at home. The Rush have dropped their last four road games, the longest road losing-streak of the season.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
The Rush covered a seven-point deficit in less than a month to overtake Wichita for the final playoff position. While Rapid City trails Tulsa by one point for third, after Allen’s win last night, the Americans are in the playoff picture for the first time since October. While the Rush are six points clear of Utah and Wichita, and only three points separate third from fifth, a win today is a chance to get back in the playoff picture. However, a loss means the Rush would be two-and-a-half games back of Tulsa, and still chasing Allen.
SOME CONNECTIONS TO CONSIDER
Both Tyler Poulson and Brayden Sherbinin are former Rush skaters in action against their former team. Sherbinin briefly spent time on the Rush with then-rookie forward Mason McCarty in the Daniel Tetrault era. Jimmy Soper is skating against his former team, as he was traded to R.C. last season.
The Rush are 3-1-0 in Sunday games this year, the day with their highest win percentage this season. Rapid City has already defeated Tulsa on a Sunday, back on November 5 by a 4-3 final score.
BENNETT LEADING THE CHARGE
Blake Bennett has four goals this season against Tulsa and leads all Rush players in points against the Oilers (5). Bennett scored twice in the only win over the Oilers this season and has a goal on the powerplay this weekend.