The Rapid City Rush entered this week looking to rebound from last weekend and gain some ground in the playoff run. Before the Rush played the Tulsa Oilers this weekend, they had a record of 5-2-1-0 against the Oilers this season and were 3-1-1-0 at BOK Center.
Rush Find Offensive Spark in the First Game of the Series
Entering Friday night’s game, the Rush were on a three-game losing streak that included two shutouts. But that streak ended Friday night when the Rush found their spark. The Rush started Adam Carlson in net, while the Oilers went with Daniel Mannella. Early in the first period, Tulsa had a 2-on-0 which Adam Carlson stopped. Kenton Helgesen then picked the puck up and shot it up the ice to Calder Brooks, creating a 2-on-1 for the Rush with Brooks and Logan Nelson. 1:16 into the first period, Brooks scored his 20th of the season in his 100th ECHL game, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead. Kenton Helgesen was given the assist on the goal. 6:59 into the first, Alex Aleardi picked up his own rebound and scored from a sharp angle to get his 15th of the season, with the assists going to Matt Marcinew and Colton Leiter. Less than a minute later, Karl Boudrias took a shot from the blue line that deflected off a Rush defenseman and went in to make it 2-1. Boudrias’ tally came 7:40 into the first and was assisted by Tyler Poulsen and Alex Gilmour. The final goal of the first period came 15:47 into the first, three seconds after the Rush’s powerplay ended. Max Coatta was behind Tulsa’s net when he backhanded the puck to Logan Nelson, who shot the puck into the net to get his 16 of the season. Nelson’s goal made it 3-1 in favor of the Rush and was assisted by Max Coatta and Keanu Yamamoto. The Rush had 14 shots, and the Oilers had 16.
The second period did not see a goal scored until almost three-quarters of the period had been played. The Oilers had a 2-on-1 heading up the ice, and after 13:28 of play in the second, Tulsa scored to bring them within one. The goal was scored by Max Golod and assisted by Dante Sheriff. 18:38 into the second, Zach Court shot the puck on net it did not go in. With traffic in front of the net, Court got the puck to enter the net. It was reviewed for goaltender interference but was ruled a good goal. With his fifth goal of the season, Court set a career-high in goals in a single season. Court had four goals in his rookie season with the Rush last season. The assists were given to Carter Robertson and Lucas Feuk. The Rush weren’t done scoring in the second period yet. Calder Brooks found Logan Nelson, who was heading up the ice. Then Nelson found Max Coatta behind the Tulsa defensemen to send Coatta on a 1-on-0 with the Tulsa goalie. With .01 seconds left in the period, Coatta shot the puck top shelf, scoring his 11th of the season and giving the Rush a 5-2 lead. Nelson and Brooks were given the assists on the goal. The Rush outshot Tulsa 12-11 in the second.
Tulsa started the scoring in the third. With 12:15 left in the third, and seven seconds left on their powerplay, Tyler Poulsen shot the puck from the left circle to make it 5-3. Cameron Supryka and Justin Bean assisted the goal. But it did not take long for the Rush to respond. With 11:39 left in the third, Alex Aleardi found Jimmy Soper entering the zone. In his return to Tulsa, Jimmy Soper slapped the puck, getting his 19th of the season and third with the Rush, to make it 6-3, with the assists going to Alex Aleardi and Tyson Helgesen. Then a mere 15 seconds later, Brett Gravelle shot the puck, but it hit the post. But Keanu Yamamoto, brother of Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto, picked up the rebound, scoring his 12th of the season, to make it 7-3 for the Rush. Gravelle and Robertson were awarded the assists. The Rush were outshot 7-12 in the third.
The Rush won the game 7-3, being outshot 33-39. The Rush were 0/5 on the powerplay, and the Oilers were 1/5 on the powerplay. Adam Carlson stood on his head, stopping many odd-man rushes for the Oilers and making 36 saves on 39 shots. Oilers goaltender Mannella had 26 saves on 33 shots.
Rush’s Offense Stays Hot
There were no goalie changes entering the second game on Saturday night. The Rush stuck with Adam Carlson, and the Oilers stuck with Daniel Mannella. 29 seconds into the first, Alex Aleardi was able to skate around the Oiler’s defense and snuck the puck under Mannella to make it 1-0. The goal was Aleardi’s 16th of the season and was assisted by Matt Marcinew. 13:31 into the first, Brennan Blaszczak shot the puck on net. The puck took a weird bounce and went in, tying the game at one. Ethan Stewart and Eddie Matsushima assisted Blaszczak’s fourth goal of the season. With 3:16 left in the first, Jimmy Soper beat two Oilers to the puck and then found Lucas Feuk, who did a 360 and beat Mannella’s blocker side, making it 2-1 for the Rush. This was Feuk’s third of the season, assisted by Jimmy Soper and Carter Robertson. Feuk’s goal also became the ECHL’s second play of the week. This would do it for scoring in the first, with both teams having nine shots on goal in the first.
The Rush also started the scoring fast in the second. Fifty-seven seconds into the second, Ryan Zuhlsdorf took a shot from the blue line. The shot was deflected in by Calder Brooks, giving him his 21st of the season and the Rush a 3-1 lead. Brooks’ goal was scored on a powerplay that carried over from the second and was assisted by Keanu Yamamoto and Ryan Zuhlsdorf. 5:28 into the second, Colton Leiter found Matt Marcinew, who tapped it in for his 22nd of the season. This gave the Rush a 4-1 lead and was assisted by Leiter and Tyson Helgesen. 5:09 into the second, Yamamoto got called for interference, but that did not stop the Rush from scoring. After the Oilers iced the puck while on a powerplay, Brooks won a faceoff in the Rush’s offensive zone, from an impossible angle, Brooks took a backhand shot from an impossible angle and deflected the puck off Mannella’s helmet giving the Rush their fourth shorthanded goal of the season, and gave Brooks his second of the game and 22nd of the season. The shorthanded goal was unassisted. 10:54 into the second, Logan Nijhoff shot the puck into the zone. The puck bounced off a Rush defenseman who lost the puck, allowing Ethan Stewart to get past the Rush defense. He then beat Adam Carlson’s blocker side, scoring his fourth of the season and making it 5-2. Nijhoff assisted on the goal. Then 10:54 into the second, Jarod Hilderman was fed a shot from Max Golod, scoring a powerplay goal to bring Tulsa within two. This was Hilderman’s third of the season; Max Golod and Karl Boudrias got credited with the assists.
Tulsa’s momentum carried into the third as they started the scoring. 4:27 into the third, Dante Sheriff took the original shot, which Carlson stopped. Sheriff then picked up his rebound, which was redirected in by Max Golod for his 11th of the season, bringing the Oilers within one. Golod’s goal was assisted by Sheriff. 17:53 into the third, down by one, the Oilers pulled Mannella for an extra attacker making it 6-on-4. At the 18:46 mark, Keanu Yamamoto intercepted an Oiler’s pass and shot it in on the Oiler’s empty net, securing the 6-4 win. Yamamoto’s goal was unassisted. In the third, the Rush were outshot 6-16.
Overall, the Rush were outshot 35-29. Adam Carlson again stood on his head, stopping a few man advantages for Tulsa while making 31 saves on 35 shots. Meanwhile, Mannella made 23 saves on 28 shots. The Rush went 1/3 on the powerplay, and the Oilers went 1/4.
Rush’s Offense Dries up for the Final Game of the Series
The Rush came into the series’ final game looking for the sweep. After playing Adam Carlson the last two games, the Rush started SPHL call-up goaltender Nicholas Latinovich. Meanwhile, the Oilers stuck with Daniel Mannella in net. The first period had no goals but saw several key Rush players leave with injuries. With around 9:30 left in the first, Rush captain Kenton Helgesen went feet-first into the boards. He left the ice with the athletic trainer, unable to put any weight on his left leg. He did not return to the game. Then with 8:42 left, Brett Gravelle went awkwardly into the boards and immediately down the tunnel. He appeared to have an upper-body injury but was able to return for the second period. Shots in the first were tied at 14.
Again, the Rush started the scoring, but not until the second period. With 17:20 left in the second, Matt Marcinew took a shot to give the Rush a 1-0 lead. Marcinew got his 23rd of the season, assisted by Keanu Yamamoto and Tyson Helgesen. Then with 15:54 left in the second, Karl Boudrias scored his third of the season to tie the game at one. His goal was assisted by Max Golod and Dante Sheriff. With 9:09 left in the second, Max Golod scored his 12th of the season to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead, their first lead of the weekend. His goal was assisted by Sheriff and Justin Bean. With 3:51 to go in the second, Alex Aleardi beat Mannella’s blocker side, getting his 17th of the season and tying the game at two. His goal was assisted by Logan Nelson. That was it for goals in the second, which saw the Rush get outshot 8-17.
The Rush did not register a goal in the third period. Meanwhile, Tulsa scored three. The first came with 15:23 left in the third from Tag Bertuzzi, cousin of Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi. His goal was assisted by Max Golod and Jarod Hilderman. Their next goal came with 11:10 left in the third from Kylor Wall, giving Tulsa a 4-2 lead. His goal was assisted by Karl Boudrias and Tag Bertuzzi. Down 4-2, the Rush pulled Latinovich with about 2:55 left in the game. The Rush then turned the puck over, and Eddie Matsushima scored his 23rd of the season on the empty net, securing the Oilers the 5-2 win. His goal was assisted by Ethan Stewart and Christopher Perna. While the Rush did not score in the third, they outshot the Oilers 12-10.
Again, the Rush were outshot by the Oilers; this time, it was 34-41. In his second ECHL start, Nicholas Latinovich had 36 saves on 40 shots. Mannella had 32 saves on the 34 shots he faced. The Rush went 0/3 on the powerplay, while the Oilers went 1/3.