ECHL Game Recap: Rapid City Rush vs. Allen Americans | 3/29/2024

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush via Instagram

Starting Lineups

The Allen Americans started the game with a forward trio of Easton Brodzinski, Blake Murray, and Colby McAuley. They had a defensive pairing of Kris Myllari and Eric William with goaltender Mark Sinclair in net.

The Rapid City Rush started the game with their forward trio of Alex Aleardi, Brett Davis, and Blake Bennett. They had a defensive pairing of Zack Hoffman and Tyson Helgesen, with goaltender Christian Propp back between the pipes.

First Period

The first period was a lot of back-and-forth hockey, with both the Americans and Rush getting scoring chances, but one team was able to cash in on more of those chances. 6:59 into the first period, Rush forward Blake Bennett was able to pick the puck off of an Americans’ stick in the Americans’ zone. Bennett shot the puck on net, and it went off the post, but Bennett was able to pick up the rebound to put the Rush up 1-0. Bennett’s first goal of the game was unassisted. Rapid City would then extend their lead with a pretty goal from Will Riedell. Blake Bennett and Alex Aleardi entered the Americans’ zone with a trailing Riedell behind them. Bennett then passed the puck to Riedell, who was able to get Americans’ goaltender Mark Sinclair to open his five-hole, allowing Riedell to score his goal, giving the Rush a 2-0 lead. Riedell’s goal came 12:58 into the period and was assisted by Bennett and Aleardi.

It would not take long after for Allen to get on the board. After a failed zone clearing by the Rush, Allen was able to get the puck to Grant Hebert who was able to find the back of the net to make it 2-1. Hebert’s goal was assisted by Eric Williams and Chaz Smedsrud.

But, the Rush were not going to let the Americans have the last goal of the period. 17:08 into the period, Blake Bennett took a shot from the top of the left circle and beat the Americans’ goaltender on his blocker side. Bennett’s powerplay goal and second of the night was assisted by Zach Taylor and Brett Davis.

The Rapid City Rush ended the first period leading 3-1, even though Allen outshot the Rush 17-16.

Second Period

The Rush would again start the scoring on a shot from Zack Hoffman from the blue line giving the Rush a 4-1 lead. Hoffman’s goal came 6:50 into the period, and the lone assist on Hoffman’s goal went to Alex Aleardi. 10:51 into the period, Rapid City extended their lead to 5-1 with a powerplay goal from Alex Aleardi, who took a shot from the left circle and was able to find the back of the net. Aleardi’s powerplay goal was assisted by Brett Davis and Zach Taylor.

Allen would strike back with 1:15 left in the period on a partial breakaway goal from Chaz Smedsrud, who was able to sneak the puck between Rush goaltender Christian Propp’s pads. Smedsrud’s first career goal was assisted by Kris Myllari and Easton Brodzinski, cutting Rapid City’s lead to 5-2.

Rapid City would go into the intermission up 5-2 against the Americans after both teams registered 16 shots on net in the second period.

Third Period

Unlike the first and second periods, Allen was able to find the back of the net first in the third period. 12:08 into the period, Mikael Robidoux was able to find an opening to sneak the puck past Christian Propp to cut Allen’s deficit to 5-3. Robidoux’s goal was assisted by Gavin Gould and James Hardie.

Rapid City would end up getting the last word with a goal from none other than Blake Bennett, earning his first career hat trick. Blake Bennett and Brett Davis had a 2-on-1 advantage heading up the ice. Davis passed the puck to Bennett, who was able to put the puck home to give the Rush a 6-3 lead. Bennett’s hat trick goal was assisted by Davis and Kenton Helgesen.

The third period became a dominating period for the Rush, with them outshooting the Americans 21-9 in the third period.

Final Stats and Thoughts

The Rush would go on to defeat the Americans by a score of 6-3. The Rush also outshot the Americans 53-42 in the game. Both goaltenders had pretty good games, with Allen’s goaltender, Mark Sinclair, making 47 saves on 53 shots faced for a save percentage of .887. Meanwhile, Rapid City’s goaltender, Christian Propp, made 39 saves on 42 shots for a save percentage of .929. Rapid City was able to find a lot of success on special teams in the game, as they were able to go 2/2 on the powerplay and 4/4 on the penalty kill. Allen did not have such luck, as they went 0/4 on the powerplay and 0/2 on the penalty kill.

The majority of the game did have a playoff-like feel to it, with Allen being down but not out. But Rapid City came out to fight for that playoff spot, and they came with more fight than Allen did. Rapid City did see a lot more from some of their newer guys, as Brett Davis had three assists, and Zach Taylor had two assists. Christian Propp has also seemed to really find his game now, and the team has already learned how to play in front of him, which should be a huge help in trying to fight for the last playoff spot. While Rapid City did fight harder this game, they are going to have to be able to fight just as hard, if not harder, in the series finale to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Rush and Americans will faceoff in the series finale Saturday, March 30, with puck drop at 7:05 pm MST.

Felicity Harding

Hello! I'm Felicity and I mainly cover the Rapid City Rush in the ECHL here at Inside the Rink. You can find me on Instagram and X/Twitter at @fharding05

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