(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, return home after nearly three weeks away to face their rival, the Kansas City Mavericks, at The Monument tonight at 7:05 p.m.
The Rush defeated the Mavericks in their last meeting - over three months ago on November 4. The two teams have four games left in the season series.
HELLO OLD FRIEND
It’s been over three months since the Kansas City Mavericks and Rapid City Rush squared off against each other. The last time out, these two teams played against one another in five straight games, the first three of which were determined by a lone goal. K.C. leads the Mountain Division by four-and-a-half games entering this weekend’s contests, but the Rush are burgeoning on re-entering the playoff picture and escaping the log-jam for the final playoff spot in the Mountain.
THE TASK AHEAD
The Rush are faced with arguably the most daunting schedule of any team in the league in the next eight games. Rapid City hosts the league-leading K.C. Mavericks for two this weekend, starting Wednesday the fifth-in-the-lead Idaho Steelheads come to The Monument for their final visit this season for a three-game set, and then the Rush pack it up and head south to Greenville for a three-game brawl with the third-in-the-league Greenville Swamp Rabbits. The Rush have defeated the Mavericks and Steelheads this season already, but haven’t faced Greenville in nearly two years.
TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP…
“Kansas City has the best record in the league, and everybody knows it, but if you want to win a championship, you have to beat the best team,” Jimmy Soper told KOTA Territory News on Wednesday. Rapid City’s schedule has not intimidated the locker room and has braced the team for a tremendous set of good hockey upcoming.
800 AND COUNTING
Matt Radomsky still holds the league lead in overall saves, and is the only goaltender with 800 saves this season in the ECHL. Radomsky has snared 12 wins, just four off the league lead and he has played the fourth-most minutes of any goaltender this season. Radomsky is setting his pace as only a rookie goaltender in the league, but is no stranger to high volume. He logged 34 appearances with Alaska-Fairbanks last season.
Simon Boyko tied Alex Aleardi with five points over the three-game series in Maine. Boyko, who has a 20-game active point streak with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the SPHL, now has a three-game goal streak with the Rush.
“I’m excited to play here in this building at home and see some guys I know on the other side… I know Jack [LaFontaine] from back home and Jacob Hayhurst,” said Boyko on Wednesday,
Alex Aleardi is riding a five-game point streak entering the weekend after an assist on Sunday in a 3-2 loss against Maine. The streak ties the longest point streak this season by any Rush player. Logan Nelson has a six-game point streak after Sunday, and earlier this year set the pace with a five-game scoring stretch of his own.
IN PURSUIT OF 500
Since entering the pro hockey ranks in 2008 (CHL), the Rapid City Rush have won 497 games. With a five-game homestand upcoming, the Rush have an opportunity to log their 500th franchise win on home ice against a rival team. The Rush have won 88 games in the Scott Burt era, as Burt is just 12 wins shy of 100 as an ECHL head coach. Rapid City has 28 games left to go in the 2023-24 regular season.
The Rush powerplay has scored in three of their last four games entering tonight’s game. R.C. is 12-10-0 this season when scoring a powerplay goal. More impressively, the Rush penalty kill is ranked a season-high 18th in the league in PK percentage at 78.1. The Rush had killed off 18 straight penalties before Maine broke through in Sunday’s game. Kansas City is ranked 12th in both powerplay and penalty kill entering tonight.
FLAMES ALUMNI ARRIVE TONIGHT
As part of a full-blown celebration of the Rush affiliation with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, five Flames alumni will be downtown at Murphy’s Pub and Grill for a meet-and-greet with fans from 4 – 6 p.m. Tomorrow, those alumni will suit up with former Rush alumni players in a charity game at 1 p.m. The Rush will also host the alumni players in a live show at the Fine Arts Theatre at 5 p.m.
LORD STANLEY COMES TO RAPID CITY
The Stanley Cup will be on display tomorrow afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. for photographs at The Monument Fine Arts Theatre. The Calgary Flames are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the 1989 championship team. Both Tim Hunter and Joel Otto will be part of the alumni attending the festivities this weekend as representatives of the Stanley Cup championship team.
Alex Aleardi is one goal shy of his 100th career ECHL goal while Kenton Helgesen is one point shy of his 100th professional point. Logan Nelson is also quickly approaching his 500th career ECHL game. Tonight will be Nelson’s 500th game at AA-hockey or above.