ECHL Game Recap: Rapid City Rush vs. Maine Mariners | 02/03/24

Rapid City Rush/ECHL

The Rapid City Rush and Maine Mariners faced off on Saturday night for the second game of their series. This time around, the game had a much different feel as both teams knew more about each other than Friday night, but one thing that stayed was the physicality.

Starting Lineups

The Rapid City Rush kept the exact same lineup as Friday night with a forward trio of Simon Boyko, Brett Gravelle, and Logan Nelson. They had a defensive pairing of Tyson Helgesen and former Mariner Billy Constantinou, with goaltender Matt Radomsky between the pipes.

Meanwhile, the Maine Mariners had almost a completely different starting lineup, starting with a forward trio of Brooklyn Kalmikov, Adam Mechura, and Chase Zieky. Their defensive pairing included Alex Sheehy and Ethan Ritchie, with goaltender Kyle Keyser in net.

First Period

When the game started, the teams’ energy seemed to have flipped from Friday night. Maine came out with a lot of fire, while the Rush came out a little on the slow side. This ended up allowing the Mariners to find the back of the net first. With 10:48 left in the first period, Mariners defenseman Ethan Ritchie took a shot from the blue line. Mariners forward Wyllum Deveaux was able to deflect and redirect the shot, causing the puck to slide right past Rush goaltender Matt Radomsky.

But the Mariners did not get to enjoy their lead for long as the Rush struck back a little over two minutes later. With 8:44 remaining in the period, Rush forward Simon Boyko was able to find Brett Gravelle, who was open in the middle of the zone, and he was able to put the puck home in the back of the net to tie the game at one. With 3:19 left in the period, Rush defenseman Charles Martin was able to find a wide-open Alex Aleardi in front of the net, who was able to fake out Mariners goaltender Kyle Keyser to find the back of the net. Aleardi’s goal was assisted by Charles Martin and Blake Bennett, giving the Rush a 2-1 lead. The Rush then extended their lead with 1:21 left in the period when Rush forward Logan Nelson passed the puck to Gravelle, who was standing in front of the net. Keyser made the initial save on Gravelle’s attempt, but Gravelle was able to pick up his own rebound, giving the Rush a 3-1 lead. But Maine was not going to end the period quietly. With only 50 seconds left in the period, Mariners forward Cam Askew sneaked one past Matt Radomsky to cut Rapid City’s lead to one goal.

The period ended with the Rush having a 3-2 lead, and they outshot the Mariners 20-11 in the first period.

Second Period

The second period was a much quieter period, with all the action coming at the beginning and end of the period. With 16:12 left in the period, Mariners forward Gabe Guertler took a shot from the blue line. Radomsky made the initial save on it, but William Provost was able to pick up the rebound and find the back of the net. Provost’s goal was assisted by Guertler and Gabriel Chicoine, tying the game at three. Maine then took a 4-3 lead with only 50 seconds left in the period when Mariners forward Brooklyn Kalmikov found the back of the net. The Mariners took a 4-3 lead to the locker room at the end of the second period after being outshot by Rapid City 18-15.

Third Period

After falling behind in the second period, Rapid City came out looking to steal the win away from the Mariners, and they did just that. With 15:46 left in the period, the Rush got a 5-on-3 powerplay where Rush forward Alex Aleardi was able to pull off an Alex Ovechkin-esque slapshot to tie the game at four. Aleardi’s powerplay goal was assisted by Blake Bennett and Charles Martin. The Rush then took back the lead after a falling Riley Ginnell served a nice backhand pass to Rush forward Simon Boyko, who put the puck past Keyser and into the back of the net. Boyko’s goal gave the Rush a 5-4 lead and was assisted by Ginnell and Kenton Helgesen, who was playing in his 100th game with the Rush. The final goal of the game came with 1:33 left in the game on an empty net. After Maine pulled their goaltender, Jimmy Soper got the puck and sent it up ice to Rush forward James Hardie, who shot the puck into the empty net. Hardie’s empty-net goal gave the Rush a 6-4 lead and was assisted by Jimmy Soper. The Rush were outshot by the Mariners 10-9 in the third period.

Final Stats and Thoughts

The Rush ended up winning the game 6-4 and outshot the Mariners 47-36. Both goaltenders played really well; Matt Radomsky stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced, and Kyle Keyser stopped 41 of 46. After both teams went 0/6 on the powerplay Friday night, the Rush got a powerplay goal and went 1/3, while the Mariners went 0/4 on the powerplay.

While the Rush did have some shaky moments, they were able to recover from them to take another two points from Maine. The Mariners played a lot better Saturday night than they did Friday night, but it was not enough to hold off the Rush. Sunday afternoon’s game could get very physical as the tension between the two teams continues to rise. At the same time, the teams will be playing in the final 60 minutes of a 3-in-3 and may be a little tired due to the earlier start time. No matter what, Sunday’s game should be a fun finish to the already intense series.

The two teams will play the series finale on Sunday afternoon with puck drop at 1:00 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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