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GAME NOTES: March 23 - Utah Grizzlies at Rush

Saturday, March 23rd
GAME NOTES: March 23 - Utah Grizzlies at Rush

(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, meet the Utah Grizzlies tonight at The Monument at 7:05 p.m. 

Rapid City fell to the Grizzlies 5-3 last night and is looking for revenge tonight. A Rush victory would preserve their playoff hopes going into tomorrow's game, while a loss puts a severe damper on postseason possibilities. 

 

WATCH     |     LISTEN

 

GOTTA HAVE ‘EM NOW

After last night’s slip-up against Utah, the Rush are in a position where any other loss in this season inflicts severe damage to their post-season hopes. Last night, the Rush used two goals from rookie Mark Duarte and one from Alex Aleardi to keep up with the Utah offense. However, the Grizzlies powerplay scored late to seal a win. With a Grizzlies win AND a Rush loss in regulation, the damage done last night was double, shrinking the Rush elimination number to only 10. The Rush have 11 games remaining this season, while Utah has 10. 

 

FIRSTS

Both defenseman Zach Taylor and forward Rylee St. Onge scored their first professional points last night. Taylor, in his pro debut, assisted on Mark Duarte’s opening goal, while St. Onge had the primary helper on his second goal. Taylor and St. Onge join Peter Muzyka and Parker Bowman as skaters who have scored their first pro point in the month of March with the Rush this season.

 

PATTERNS IN THE SERIES

For the first time in the now-seven-game season series between the Rush and the Grizzlies, Rapid City never led in Friday’s game. The Rush had led in every other contest at some point against Utah. The Grizzlies are also 2-0-0 this season when scoring a powerplay goal against the Rush (Utah scored two powerplay goals in their win on March 9). The Rush are 2-0-0 when holding Utah to two or less goals scored in the series, winning in overtime 3-2 and drubbing the Grizzlies on March 11, 5-1.

 

SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS

For the first time in the last five games, the Rush were outshot by their opponent and allowed more than 30 shots on net. The Grizzlies put 42 on goal in last night’s game while the Rush mustered 28 (nearly five below their game-by-game average). Still, the Rush for the sixth straight game scored three goals or more and pressured Will Cranley who is now 2-1-1 against the Rush this season.  

 

ROOKIE REPORT

40 percent of all offensive output this season for the Rush has been from rookie goal-scorers. The Rush have seen 76 goals from rookies this season with Blake Bennett (28) and Maurizio Colella (10) leading the way this season. Furthermore, every win this season has been recorded by a rookie netminder. Of the Rush players the saw ice time last night, 11 are rookies. 

 

“C” WHAT HE’S DOING

Alex Aleardi is two points away from tying his single-season career-high in points (65). After a goal last night, Aleardi’s 24 on the season rank him second on the team behind rookie Blake Bennett, and also posits the Rush co-captain as being six away from his third-straight 30 goal season. Aleardi is the Rush team leader in points this season with 63.

 

ONCE BROTHERS

While Josh Wesley and Will Riedell never played against each other during their youth hockey days in North Carolina, they did play together for a season for the AAA Bantam Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. Riedell is an AHL-prospect for the Calgary Wranglers, while Wesley was a fourth-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014. 

 

WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND

Of their 24 victories this season, 13 have come on Saturday or Sunday for the Rush this season. Rapid City’s last victory came one week ago on a Saturday night and the Rush have taken a standings point in each of their last three Saturday contests. The Rush are also 5-2-0 in Sunday games this season. 

 

FOR THE CITY

Rapid City has lost 11 straight games at home dating back to their last home win on January 13 (9-5 over Fort Wayne). The home skid has now set the franchise record for most consecutive home losses. Making up the 11 defeats include seven losses to the top-two teams in the division (Kansas City and Idaho), three to Savannah, and one to Utah. Eight of those losses come to teams in the playoffs currently.

 

THE ELIMINATION NUMBER (E#)

The Rush elimination number is now 10 points. 

 

If that number is above zero after the end of the regular season, the Rush will make the playoffs.

The number decreases by TWO every time Utah wins in regulation or the Rush lose in regulation. The number decreases by ONE every time the Rush or Utah lose in overtime/shootout. And the number stays the same with the Rush win in regulation or Utah loses in regulation. 

If the number hits zero, the Rush are eliminated from playoff contention. 

 

*In this series, games are for “double-damage” meaning a Utah regulation win counts for four points being subtracted from the E#.

 

ROOTING GUIDE

For the Rush to get the most out of the results tonight, here’s who Rush fans should be pulling for in tonight’s games

 

Who to pull for                  Against                   Help                       

THE RUSH                           Utah                       WIN

Iowa                                    Wichita                   WIC up 5

Kansas City                          Allen                      ALN up 8

Idaho                                   Tulsa                      TUL up 13

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