ECHL: Rapid City Rush Enter Penultimate Week of the Regular Season Desperate for Wins

Photo Credit: @rapidcityrush on Instagram

The Rapid City Rush head to Kansas City and Wichita this week to take on the Kansas City Mavericks and the Wichita Thunder. The Rush are sixth in the Mountain Division and have played 66 games this season, with six remaining. They head into the weekend with a record of 30-33-3-0 with 63 points and a win percentage of .477. The Mavericks are third in the Mountain Division, having played 66 games with six games remaining. They have a record of 30-28-6-2 with 68 points and a win percentage of .515. The Thunder are fifth in the Mountain Division with a record of 30-31-6-0 with 66 points and a win percentage of 0.493. They have played 67 games and have five games remaining.

Player Streaks

The Rush head to Kansas City and Wichita with several active streaks from players. Carter Robertson and Ilya Nikolaev are on a two-game point streak in which both have two assists during that time. Rory Kerins is also on a two-game point streak with three assists. Matt Marcinew is on a four-game point streak with five assists. Nikolaev is also on a two-game point streak with four points during that time, two goals, and two assists. Marcinew is on a six-game points streak with two goals and six assists for eight points. Kerins is on a four-game point streak with two goals and four assists for six points. Kerins streak goes back to January 27th, before he was injured. Marcinew is also on a four-game goal streak on the road. Through the last four road games, Marcinew has had four goals.

Kansas City doesn’t have anyone on a streak, as the Idaho Steelheads shut them out in their last game. Wichita does have a few players on streaks, though Connor Walters is currently on a two-game assist streak with two assists in that time. Jay Dickman is on a three-game point streak with three goals and one assist for four points. Jason Pineo is on a four-game point streak with two goals and two assists for four points.

Player Milestones

There are not very many milestones being hit in this series. Jimmy Soper is still sitting at 42 points. His career high in a single season is 43. He will likely tie or break his single-season career high in this series.

Jon Martin will likely hit 300 professional games between the ECHL and AHL this weekend. If Martin plays tonight, He sits at 299 professional games. He is only in his second ECHL season but has spent six seasons in the AHL. While in the AHL, Martin split his time between the San Jose Barracuda, Tucson Roadrunners, and Grand Rapids Griffins. Martin has spent his time in the ECHL split between the Rapid City Rush and Allen Americans, though he only played seven games with the Americans. In his ECHL career, he has played in 39 games with 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points. He has 49 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -3. Through his six seasons in the AHL, he played in 206 games registering 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points. He had 251 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +16. Martin has played in 299 games with 46 goals and 56 assists for 102 points. He has 300 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +13. Martin suffered an upper-body injury that held him out for quite a while this season, but he has played in 32 games this season. Through the 32 games, Martin has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. He has 37 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -4.

Players to Watch Out For

The Rush don’t have very many players that are hot right now. But it is worth mentioning in the last ten games, Alex Aleardi has nine goals and two assists for 11 points. On Kansas City, Joshua Lammon currently sits second in the league for shorthanded goals with four.

Wichita has three players to watch out for. Quinn Preston is second among rookies with 13 powerplay goals. Michal Stinil is third in the league with 24 powerplay assists. The main player to watch out for is Cole MacDonald. MacDonald is second in the league with 26 powerplay assists, which is also good for most powerplay assists among defensemen. MacDonald is fourth in the league with 33 powerplay points and first among defensemen for powerplay points. He is also first among defensemen with seven powerplay goals.

Pre-Game Stats

Kansas City comes into the after getting shutout by the Steelheads on Saturday Night and are 4-5-0-1 in their last ten. The Mavericks are 19-7-6-1 at home and are 19-9-4-1 when scoring first. They are 22nd in the league with an average of 3.03 goals for per game and 13th in the league with an average of 3.23 goals against per game. Kansas City is 16th in the league with an average of 31.50 shots for per game and 11th in the league with an average of 30.82 shots against per game. The Maverick’s powerplay is 19th in the league at 17.8%, while their home powerplay is third in the league at 26.7%. Their penalty kill is tied with the Maine Mariners for seventh at 82.4%, and their home penalty is fourth at 84.1%.

Wichita enters the weekend on a three-game losing streak and a record of 3-6-1-0 in their last ten. The Thunder are 20-8-4-0 at home and 19-8-3-0 when scoring first. They are 19th in the league with an average of 3.13 goals for per game and 14th in the league with an average of 3.31 goals against per game. The Thunder are 26th in the league with an average of 29.09 shots for per game, and they are 27th in the league with an average of 37.99 shots against per game. Wichita’s power play is eighth in the league at 21.8% and second at home at 27.9%. Their penalty kill is second in the league at 84.2%, and their home penalty kill is also second at 85.9%.

The Rush come into this three-game, two-city series 5-3-2-0 in their last ten and on a five-game losing streak. They are 0-3-2-0 in the five-game losing streak. The Rush are 11-21-1-0 on the road but 23-11-2-0 when they score first. This season, the Rush are 4-7-0-0 against Wichita and 4-2-0-0 against Kansas City. The Rush are 11th in the league with an average of 3.35 goals for per game and 25th in the league with an average of 3.80 goals against per game. They are fourth in the league with an average of 35.45 shots for per game, and they are 20th in the league with an average of 33.20 shots against per game. Rapid City’s powerplay is 24th in the league at 15.5%, and their road powerplay is 24th in the league at 13.4%. Their penalty kill is last in the league at 75.1%, but their road penalty kill is 22nd at 75.0%.

Final Thoughts

It is no secret that the Rush has been on the struggle bus as of late. They have struggled to get crisp, clean passes and helping defend in front of their goalie. If the Rush can fix these two problems, they have a very high chance of winning this series, as long as they can still find the back of the net. Wichita and Kansas City have insanely good home powerplays, and penalty kills, so the Rush can only help themselves by staying out of the box to avoid being shorthanded. The Rush are not entirely out of the playoffs yet. While they need help from other teams in the Mountain Division, they can help their chance by just winning each game and the weekend. The Rush are currently four points out of a playoff spot. If the Rush win all three games, the Utah Grizzlies lose their three games against the Idaho Steelheads, the Thunder lose their one game against the Tulsa Oilers, and the Mavericks lose their two games against the Tulsa Oilers, the Rush can be in that last playoff spots. The Rush will have to get some points out of their final series against the Steelheads, which will be a challenge.

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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