The Rapid City Rush Continue Their Road Trip Looking to Bring Home More Points

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush via Instagram

The Rapid City Rush are entering the final series of their road trip where they will faceoff against the Allen Americans in Allen, Texas.

Last Week

Last week, the Rapid City Rush faced off against the Idaho Steelheads in Boise, Idaho for a three game series. While the Rush went 1-1-1 in the series and only ended up with three of a possible six points, there were a lot of positives that came out of the series. The Steelheads are currently one of the hardest teams to play against in the league which goes to show just how hard the Rush had to play and fight for the standing points that they got. While the team made some mistakes, they were able to defend and play on offense well enough to play at the same level as the Steelheads. Not only were the Rush good on offense and defense, but Rapid City’s goaltending was pretty on point in the series. Through the three games, Rush goaltenders Matt Radomsky and Jason Pawloski combined for 98 saves on 110 shots. The Rush were also able to control the puck quite a bit and got a lot of shots on net against an Idaho team that normally does not allow a lot of shots. The Rush had a total of 99 shots through three games against the Steelheads and they were able to find the back of the net on 12 of the shots. Through the three games, the Rush lost the first in overtime 4-5, lost the second game 4-1, and then won the third game 7-4. This was only the second time this season that Idaho has allowed a team to score at least seven goals against them in a single game. The only other time this has happened was on December 6th against the Kansas City Mavericks in a 7-5 loss.

Special Teams

With all the improvements the team made this past week, there were also some improvements made on special teams. While the powerplay started off rough going 0/4 in the first two games, the Rush ended up going 2/2 in the final game of the series. There are still some improvements to be made on the powerplay, like keeping the puck in the offensive zone, if the Rush are able to control the puck and score powerplay goals without allowing shorthanded goals, they should be fine. But if the Rush are not able to continue to control the puck when they are on the powerplay, then they may see there powerplay go through another drought. While the powerplay saw an improvement this weekend, the penalty kill did struggle a little bit. The Rush went 4/6 on the penalty kill this week, allowing Idaho to score a powerplay goal in each of the first two games of the series. Rapid City’s penalty kill was going up against Idaho’s powerplay, which is first in the ECHL, and the Rush did not take a single penalty in the final game of the series, which took away Idaho’s lethal powerplay. While there is still room for improvement, the Rush were able to play pretty well, both on the powerplay and penalty kill against a very dangerous Idaho team.

Possible Milestones

The Rush do not have very many players nearing milestones, but Alex Aleardi could hit 100 ECHL assists this weekend as he currently sits at 95. This season, Aleardi has played in 24 games with the Rush where he has 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. He has 12 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -4. Through five ECHL seasons, Aleardi has played in 196 games where he has 93 goals and 95 assists for 188 points. He has 112 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +14.

Coming in Hot

While the Rush do not have any players coming in on point streaks this week, they do have some players that have been really hot recently. Keanu Yamamoto is coming into the week having three points, two goals and one assist, in his last two games. Meanwhile, Maurizio Colella comes into the week having five assists in his last three games. Colella had an assist on all four Rush goals in their 4-5 overtime loss against the Steelheads last week. Yamamoto and Colella are both players to watch this week as they will be looking to continue their hot streak.

New Face

The Rapid City Rush have announced that they have signed forward and defenseman, Kyle Soper, the younger brother of current Rush forward Jimmy Soper. Kyle Soper has spent the start of the season with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the SPHL. Kyle played in 19 games with the Marksmen where he had two goals and 11 assists for 13 points. He had 28 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +6. The unique thing about Kyle Soper is that he is both a left winger and defenseman, so he could pretty much fit anywhere on the team. But, this season he has played as mostly a defenseman for the Marksmen and is listed as a defenseman on the Rush roster, so it is safe to assume that we will see him playing as a defenseman. It is likely that we will see him make his Rush debut this week as the Rush have put him on reserve.

This Week

The Rapid City Rush now head to Allen, Texas to take on the Allen Americans in a three game series. The Americans have been off to a rough start this season as they currently have a record of 8-15-1 and are sixth in the Mountain Division. The Rush currently have a record of 10-12-2 and sit at fifth in the Mountain Division. Both teams are 4-5-1 in their last ten games, and Allen currently has a record of 1-6 at home this season. The Americans are going to be coming into this series really trying to flip their season around while trying to get some wins at home for their fans. With Allen struggling at home, the Rush may be able to take quite a few points from this series as they have thrived on the road this season with a record of 7-5-1. But, that by no means says this is going to be an easy series. Allen is team that likes to play a very physical game. So, if the Rush are not able to play physically as well, they may see some games and points slip away from them. The keys for the Rush to win this series is playing physical, defending well in front of their goalie, and getting good, accurate shots on net to find the back of the net.

The series will start Wednesday night with puck drop at 6:10 pm MST. The series will then continue with another 6:10 pm MST puck drop Friday evening, and the series will wrap up on Saturday with a 3:10 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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