ECHL Series Preview: Rapid City Rush vs. Utah Grizzlies | 3/8-11/2024

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush

The Rapid City Rush and Utah Grizzlies will be facing off in a three game series this week in West Valley City, Utah.

Last Week

Last week, the Rush faced off against the Savannah Ghost Pirates in a three game series. The Rush went into the series hoping to take some points from the series but ended up earning 0/6 losing all three games by scores of 2-6, 2-4, and 2-8. The Rush outshot the Ghost Pirates 42-34 and 35-28 in the first two games and then tied with 32 shots in the final game. While the Rush were able to get quite a few shots on net, they were not able to get quality shots and find openings to help them figure out Savannah’s defensive weaknesses. The Rush had some good looks, but it seemed like the players were just not clicking with each other in the games.

Milestones

If activated from injured reserve, defenseman TJ Fergus could play in his 100th ECHL game, as he currently sits at 98. This season, Fergus has played in 36 games for the Rush, where he has two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. He has ten penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -6. In 98 ECHL games played, Fergus has six goals and 32 assists for 38 points. He has 18 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -7.

Streaks

The Rush currently have three players on point streaks coming into this series. The first player is forward Logan Nelson who is on a four game point streak with zero goals and four assists for four points. Nelson has played in 53 games for the Rush this season where he has 14 goals and 35 assists for 49 points. He has 22 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +1. Rush forward Blake Bennett is also on a four game point streak where he has three goals and two assists for five points. Bennett has dressed in all 55 games the Rush have played this season where he has 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points. He has 30 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -18. Rush forward Alex Aleardi is on a five game point streak where he has three goals and three assists for six points. In 55 games played this season, Aleardi has 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points. He has 45 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -3.

Roster Changes

The Rush had quite a few roster moves this week starting with goaltender Connor Murphy returning from his stint in the AHL with the Calgary Wranglers. Murphy played in three games for a total of 125:39 minutes on ice. Murphy faced a total of 71 shots where he had three goals against and 68 saves for a save percentage of .958 and a goals against average of 1.00.

The Rush also acquired forward Brett Davis in a trade with the Florida Everblades. The Everblades acquired forward Jimmy Soper from the Rush. In 55 games played with the Rush, Soper had seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points. He had 55 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -38. Brett Davis played in 33 games with the Everblades this season where he had three goals and ten assists for 13 points. He had 22 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +1.

The Rush announced that they signed defenseman Peter Muzyka from the Long Island University Sharks. Muzyka played in 35 games with the Sharks where he had zero goals and two assists for two points. He had 70 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +2. He spent three seasons playing for Cornell University where he played in six games. He did not register any points and he had 15 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +1. In one season with the New Mexico Ice Wolves, Muzyka played in seven games where he had zero goals and one assist for one point. He had 21 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -2.

The Rush also announced that they have released forward Adam Eby. Eby played in eight games with the Rush where he had zero goals and one assist for one point. He had two penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -6.

This Week

This week, the Rapid City Rush are headed to West Valley City, Utah to take on the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies currently sit fifth in the Mountain Division with a record of 25-29-1-0 for 51 points and a win percentage of .464. They are 16-8-0-0 at home and are 5-5-0-0 in their last ten. The Rush currently sit seventh in the Mountain Division with a record of 20-33-2-0 for 42 points and a win percentage of .382. The are 12-15-1-0 on the road and are 1-9-0-0 in their last ten. The Rush are coming into this series currently on a three game losing streak. These two teams have only seen each other one other time this season where the Grizzlies ended up winning all three games to sweep the Rush.

This is a big weekend for both teams as Utah is trying to fight for a playoff spot and the Rush will be looking to get back on track so they can end their season on a high note. It is not impossible for the Rush to make the playoffs as they sit 11 points out of a playoff spot, but it is very unlikely right now. The Grizzlies are currently sitting two points out of a playoff spot and will be wanting to take as many points away from the Rush as possible. Games against the Grizzlies are always hard and physical games and they games this week should be hard fought and physical.

The series will start Friday, March 8, with puck drop at 7:10 pm MST. The series will continue on Saturday starting at 7:10 pm MST, and the series will wrap up Monday, March 11, with another 7:10 pm MST puck drop.

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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