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 Rapid City Rush

Game Notes: April 13 - Wichita Thunder at Rush

April 13, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Rapid City Rush News Release

(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, play their final game of the season tonight against Wichita at home.

Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, but each can avoid a last-place divisional finish with a regulation win tonight.


After back-to-back wins over Wichita, the Rapid City Rush can finish outside the cellar of the Mountain Division with a regulation win this evening (Rush own the tiebreaker). Rapid City is 3-0 against Wichita this season in overtime and is now 6-0-1 in their last seven home games. The Rush are looking to finish the season on a high note and capture at least 30 wins for the third consecutive season.


Rookie forward Blake Bennett, the ECHL leader in rookie goal scoring, is tied with Jesse Schultz for the most goals in a single season in Rush history (34). Bennett's next will give him sole possession of the single-season goals record, and he is five shy of the Rush all-time record (Ryan Menei, 39). Bennett had four shots on goal last night and nearly won the game in overtime before Maurizio Colella proved to be the hero.


Maurizio Colella tallied his first overtime game-winning goal of the season in last night's 5-4 OT win. Colella had not scored a goal since February 2 in a win against Maine, but had garnered 5 assists in the stretch. Colella, enjoying the highest point-output of his professional career, now has 11 goals on the year. He is also one of five Rush skaters set to have dressed in all 72 ECHL regular season games this season.


Colella, Keanu Yamamoto, Alex Aleardi, Blake Bennett, and Brett Gravelle are all set to have played 72 games for the Rush this season - dressing in every regular season contest. Alex Aleardi has the longest ECHL games-played streak of anyone on the Rush at 163 consecutive games and counting for the veteran. Yamamoto has missed only one game in the last two seasons combined.


The Rush penalty kill held the third-ranked Wichita powerplay scoreless through yesterday's contest again. Wichita's powerplay is now 1-for-their-last-18. The Rush powerplay got a boost, now scoring in three straight games as Parker Bowman lit the lamp on the man-advantage.


Rookie netminder Christian Propp is now 5-4-1 overall in his young career, turning in a 5-0-1 record at The Monument this season. The first-year netminder out of Wilfrid Laurier is guaranteed to finish with a .500 or better record with the Rush this season. He also holds the Rush record this year for most consecutive starts with nine under his belt so far.


Both Brett Gravelle and Keanu Yamamoto turned in multi-point performances last night. Gravelle factored in on the first three goals of the game, while Yamamoto was involved in every goal except Bowman's powerplay marker. Yamamoto and Gravelle have both turned in two three-plus point performances this year, with Yamamoto becoming the eighth Rush player this season to turn in a four-or-more point performance.


In their seven wins against Wichita this season (the most against any single opponent this year), the Rush have upended some of the highest-level goaltending talent in the league

WIC G Contract RC Rec.

Eetu Makiniemi NHL 1-1

Magnus Chrona NHL 2-0

Beck Warm AHL 2-1

Trevor Gorsuch ECHL 2-0

Both Makiniemi and Chrona have logged NHL games in their career, while Gorsuch is playing with a .908 save percentage this season.


The Rush season at The Monument will be remembered for its stretches of runs. The map of the home season for the Rush is as follows:

Dates Streak Opponents

10.27-11.25 0-7-1 KC, TUL, IDH

12.07-01.13 8-1-0 WIC, IOWA, FW

01.19-03.22 0-11-0 IDH, KC, SAV

03.23-04.12 6-0-1 UTA, ALN, WIC

While the Rush will finish below .500 at home, the team improved their road record by two wins overall from last season.


Of the top five Rush scorers this season, only one is a rookie (Blake Bennett). The others, Alex Aleardi, Logan Nelson, Brett Gravelle, and Keanu Yamamoto have all played at least one full season of ECHL hockey, with both Aleardi and Nelson eclipsing "veteran" status. The top five scorers for Rapid City this season, made up 48.4% of the team's total output.


Tonight the Rush pay homage to Major League, the 1989 sports-comedy that is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Actor Tom Berenger, who portrayed Jake Taylor in the film, will be in attendance at tonight's game. Berenger also played Sergeant Barnes in Platoon (1986), Lt. Gen. James Longstreet in Gettysburg (1993), and Jim Vance in television's Hatfields & McCoys (2012).

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