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Game Notes: December 9 - Wichita Thunder at Rush

December 9, 2023 - ECHL (ECHL)
Rapid City Rush News Release


(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush, proud affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, will look to earn their first three-game sweep of the season by hosting the Wichita Thunder this evening at The Monument.

The puck will drop at 4:05 p.m. on Teddy Toss Night presented by Black Hills Energy. All fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals to donate by throwing them onto the ice after the Rush score their first goal of the game. These stuffed animals will be going to five different children's and youth organizations in the Black Hills this holiday season.

RUSH GO FOR WEEKEND SWEEP ON TEDDY TOSS NIGHT

After back-to-back wins over Wichita, the Rush will look for their first three-game sweep of the season, and their first series sweep since a two-game win streak in Iowa. The Rush have outscored the Thunder 7-5 this weekend and have outshot Wichita in all six meetings between the two groups this season. The first goal of the game tonight will trigger thousands of teddy bears being thrown onto the ice as part of the annual Teddy Toss Game presented by Black Hills Energy.

A STAR TO FOLLOW

Alex Aleardi extended his point streak to four games with a game-winning assist last night. Logan Nelson also added a helper on Blake Bennett's OT winner and remains tied with Aleardi for the team lead in assists with 11. Both veteran players have logged a point in each of the past two vs. Wichita.

TALES OF THE GLORIES

Brett Gravelle's game opening assist on Maurizio Colella's goal marked his 100th ECHL point. Gravelle has tallied two assists on the weekend and has logged six points vs. Wichita this season. Tyson Helgesen will skate in his 100th ECHL game this evening, becoming the second-most tenured ECHL defenseman behind his brother, Kenton (currently on injured reserve). Tyson's lone goal of the year stood as the game-winning in a 7-5 win over Wichita on November 19.

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS...NOT

After tonight's game, the Rush will pack things up and head to Boise, Idaho, for a three-game series with the Idaho Steelheads who are currently tied for the division lead. The Rush then head to Allen, Texas, to play the Americans over a three-day stretch before heading home on Christmas Eve. The 12-day, six-game, two-city road trip will be the longest of the season for Rapid City.

GOAL-LORIA!

The seven goals scored by the Rush in this weekend's series ties the most goals scored in a series at home this season. Prior to yesterday's overtime win, the Rush had not scored more than three goals at The Monument this season. More impressive still, all seven have been scored by different players for an even dispersal of scoring across all three lines.

PRESENTS ON THE POWERPLAY

After going four games without a goal on the powerplay, the Rush have scored in back-to-back games on the man-advantage.

"It's where you win and lose your hockey games," said Head Coach Scott Burt. "You have to take advantage of those chances when they're presented and if you don't then you're going to get beat." The Rush have finished 1-for-6 on the powerplay in their last two games, with last night's overtime winner coming on the powerplay.

JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT

The Rush can earn at least a split of the season series with Wichita with a win this evening. Rapid City will not see the Thunder again until the final series of the regular season from April 11-13 at The Monument. The only team in the division the Rush have a winning record against in Wichita, but with a 10-game season series between the two squads - locking up potentially five division wins is paramount. Wichita has the fewest in-division wins of any team in the Mountain Division.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

After 22 months spent outside the ECHL, Jason Pawloski logged a win in his Rush debut last night. Pawloski, who just turned 28 last week, earned 27 wins over the last two seasons with the SPHL's Fayetteville Marksmen and stopped 23 in a 4-3 OT win last night. With Pawloski's victory, every goaltender that has dressed for the Rush this year has logged one win.

THE FIRST "GOAL"-EL

Brandon Yeamans tallied his first goal as a member of the Rush in the third period of last night's win. The goal put the Rush up 3-2 at the time, and was assist by Keltie Jeri-Leon and Maurizio Colella. Yeamans has also been unafraid to mix it up with Wichita's tougher customers and has packed a punch in the physicality department. Prior to signing with R.C., Yeamans played 10 games with the Allen Americans this season.

CANDY, CANDY CORNS, CANDY CANES, AND SYRUP

That's how sweet it was for Blake Bennett to score his first goal in a month. Bennett, who leapt out of the gate with seven goals in eight games to start the year, had remained productive with his speed and assist-getting, but hadn't scored since November 5 in Tulsa. Bennett's eighth goal of the season gave him cushion in the game-winning goals department as the rookie has now tallied three of the eight game-winning goals for the Rush this season.

THIS IS MY HOUSE, AND I MUST DEFEND IT

The Rush have felt home alone prior to this series, but after a 10-game home losing skid, Rapid City has won back-to-back home games for the first time this season and now sits just two games back of Wichita with four games in hand for the final playoff spot. Rapid City is looking for their third Saturday win of the season, which would make Saturday their most successful day of the still-young season.


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