(PORTLAND, Maine) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, close their season series out against the Maine Mariners this afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
The Rush are 2-0-0 all-time against Maine having won each of their previous two games this week. The teams had not faced off before in franchise history.
FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS
The Rapid City Rush are 9-1-0 outside of divisional play this season, and are looking for their third sweep against a non-divisional opponent as they wrap up the season series with the Maine Mariners this afternoon. Rapid City is back in a playoff spot following a loss from the Allen Americans last night, and the Rush have preserved the opportunity to go 3-3-0 for an even split on the season’s longest road tip.
BOY… HE’S SHARP
Simon Boyko set a personal ECHL career high with three points in last night’s 6-4 win (1g, 2a). For the second straight night the rookie forward scored the game-winning goal. Boyko has an active 20-game point streak in the SPHL with the Fayetteville Marksmen and has 37 points in 30 games with Fayetteville this year. Riley Ginnell had an assist on the game-winner last night to ride a two-game assist streak heading into this afternoon’s contest.
Prior to last night, the Rush only had one comeback win when trailing at the start of the third period (Dec. 9 vs. Wichita). In fact, the Rush were 1-16-0 when entering the third period down this season. However, with a three-goal third period, the Rush came back for the first time on the road after trailing through 40 minutes. Interestingly, the Rush also did not score first in yesterday’s game, winning for just the fourth time when not drawing first blood.
COMPLIMENTARY SPECIAL TEAMS
In the third period last night, the Rush killed off 1:54 of 5-on-3 time to preserve a now 16-for-16 kill stretch in the last five games. The PK set up Alex Aleardi’s game-tying powerplay goal on a 5-on-3 powerplay just moments later. The Rush penalty kill is riding it’s longest streak without allowing an opponent’s powerplay goal this season.
ON THE HORIZON
After this afternoon’s game, the Rush will head home for a five-game homestand. With only 28 games remaining the ECHL regular season, the Rush play 17 at The Monument with only 11 road games left. Rapid City has only eight Mountain Division road games left and will see division opponents in each remaining home matchup except for a three-game series with Savannah at the end of February and into early March.
Rapid City has outscored Maine 11-4 during their previous two matchups in the series. The newfound offense comes after being outscored 25-10 during a five-game losing skid to follow the All-Star break. The Rush have seen two players get their first ECHL points and two players riding four-plus game point streaks entering this afternoon’s game.
Rapid City has the best winning percentage of any weekday on Sunday this year with a record of 4-1-0. The Rush are 3-1-0 during Sunday road games this season and will look to improve to 4-1-0 today. After today, the Rush have two Sunday home games remaining.
SPREADING THE SCORING AROUND
Factoring in all 11 Rush goals this weekend, Rapid City has seen contribution from 15 different point-getters. Two players, Boyko and Aleardi, have four points this weekend to lead the way, but that’s 88 percent of Rush skaters who have factored in offensively during the previous two games combined.
SOME NICE ROOKIE NUMBERS
Charles Martin hit 20 assists in his rookie season with a pair of helpers last night. Martin leads all Rush defensemen in assists this season. Fellow rookie Blake Bennett scored his 30th and 31st points of the season with his two assist night. Maurizio Colella’s goal on Friday lifted him to 25 points this season, his best professional year on record, eclipsing 24 points with HC Meran/O last year in Italy.
COMING HOME TO WAR
The Rush opponents awaiting them on the other side of this road trip are the top-of-the-league Kansas City Mavericks, the fifth-in-the-league Idaho Steelheads, and a road trip to visit the third-in-the-league Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Rapid City has four games left in total against Kansas City and six games left against Idaho in divisional play.
Scott Burt now sits at 88 career victories as an ECHL head coach. Burt is on track to celebrate 1,000 games of involvement in the ECHL next month between his coaching and playing career.