Rapid City Rush Look to Get Their First Home Wins of the 2023-24 ECHL Season

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush via Instagram

The Rapid City Rush faced off against the Kansas City Mavericks and Tulsa Oilers last week, and now, they will be welcoming the Oilers to the Black Hills for a three game series.

Last Week

The Rush entered last week on a two game losing streak and unfortunately extended that streak to four games when they lost to the Kansas City Mavericks 2-3 and 0-3 on Tuesday and Friday night. But, the Rush offense became extremely hot in their Saturday game against the Mavericks, where they beat the Mavericks 8-4. The Rush then traveled to Tulsa to play the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday afternoon, where they ended up beating the Oilers 4-3. The Rush went 2-2 last week against the Mavericks and Oilers. The Rush played pretty well in the last two games, but with that being said, there are still some areas that the team still needs to improve upon.

Improvements to be Made

A couple of the improvements the Rush need to make are defense, shots, and the powerplay.

The Rush have struggled defending and blocking shots in this young season as they have been outshot by their opponents 194-281. This was still an issue last week as they were outshot by their opponents 91-121 in four games. This is a problem on both offense and defense because if the offense is able to keep the puck in their offensive zone, then their opponent(s) would not be able to have the opportunity to get as many shots off on Rush goaltenders. But, it is also an issue with defense as they are allowing their opponents to get past them to get shots on the goaltender. The Rush goaltenders have been pretty on point when it comes to making saves, as they made 108 saves on 121 shots last week through the four games they played.

Continuing with shots, the Rush need to start possessing the puck more and getting more shots on net. Right now, the Rush are still able to find the back of the net with not as many shots, but as they get further into the season, it could start to become an issue. Last week, the Rush had an average of 22.75 shots per game and 7.6 shots per period. On Sunday, the Rush only had 19 shots on net the entire game. They were able to find the back of the net four times and win, but it may not always be that way. In Sunday’s game, the Rush were outshot by the Oilers 48-19.

The Rush were able to go 12/13 on the penalty kill over the weekend, but they went 0/10 on the powerplay. The Rush do not want to rely on getting powerplay goals, but as they get further into the season, they really need to start figuring out ways to find the back of the net when they have the extra skater on the ice to help benefit the team even more.

Possible Milestones

The Rush have a couple of players that may hit some milestones this weekend at home against the Oilers.

The first and closest milestone is for Logan Nelson, who could hit 200 career ECHL assists, as he currently has 198. Nelson is in his ninth ECHL season, where he has played in 460 games and has 124 goals and 198 assists for 322 points. He has 421 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -73. Nelson is in his fourth season with the Rush and has played in 160 games for the Rush. He has 55 goals and 93 assists for 148 points. He has 161 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -16. So far this season, Nelson has played in eight games where he has two goals and four assists for six points. He has four penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +4.

The other miles is for Brett Gravelle, who could hit 100 career ECHL points as he currently sits at 93. Gravelle is in his third ECHL and Rush season and has played in 126 ECHL games. He has 43 goals and 50 assists for 93 points. He has 22 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +13. Gravelle has played 125 games in a Rush jersey, where he has 41 goals and 49 assists for 90 points. He has 22 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +12. In the still young 2023-24 ECHL season, Gravelle has played in eight games where he has one goal and three assists for four points. He has two penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +2.

This Week

This week, the Rush will host the Tulsa Oilers for their second home series of the season. The Rush will faceoff against the Oilers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, with puck drop being at 7:05 all three nights. The Rush matched up fairly well against the Oilers in the one game they played against them last week. It would be nice to see the Rush getting more pucks on the net, but as long as they are still able to score goals and find ways to win, the amount of shots should not matter that much. The last time the Rush played the Oilers, they played Kansas City Saturday night and then traveled to Tulsa and played them Sunday afternoon, whereas Tulsa had Saturday off and then played the Rush on Sunday. Now, the Rush has been able to get some rest and hopefully recover a little bit, which should only cause them to come out with more speed and energy this week. Not only that, but the Rush will now have a home-ice advantage and will be looking to get their first home wins in front of their fans as they currently sit 0-1-1 at home this season.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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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