The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff coverage is brought to you by Kalwei Law Firm
The wait to determine an opponent for the second round of playoffs is finally over as the Rapid City Rush used home-ice advantage to beat Quad City last night 2-1.
It was a historic series and game seven was typical of the low scoring, tight checking games the Rush and Mallards have had all series. The score was 0-0 after the second period with Rapid City having a 18-6 advantage in shots on goal. When Rapid City forward Cody Ferriero, who joined the Rush in January after starting the year in the SPHL, scored early in the third period it looked like that would win the game. However, the Mallards tied the score 1-1 with 1:32 left in the game and it appeared the teams were headed to overtime. At the 18:57 mark, just 29 seconds after Quad City tied the score, Ferriero scored again for the Rush on a deflection in front of the net to give Rapid City a 2-1 win. With the game seven, 4-3 series win Rapid City earned a trip to the second round where they will take on top seeded Allen in a series that starts tomorrow (Friday) with a 7:05 p.m. CDT puck drop.
The Rapid City vs Quad City series was historic as the 28 combined goals are the fewest ever scored in a seven games series in ECHL history. Two quality teams that are very evenly matched. They tied for second place in the Central Division with 81 points and they had the exact same number of wins with 37. Rapid City got the #2 seed and home ice advantage because they had fewer shootout wins which aren’t counted as wins when computing the tiebreaker. Other than game five which Quad City won 4-0 the other six games were all decided by a single goal and the winning team never score more than three goals.
Here is what Mallard coach Terry Ruskowski had to say about the game as reported in the Quad City times by Bobby Metcalf. Ruskowski is always honest and to the point.
“For a seventh game, we didn’t play our best game, they just seemed more hungry.”
“Pack your bags, we are going back to Moline,”
“I told them we did not play our best game tonight. Sometimes less things are said because I’m not very happy right now and I get carried away and I am just going to blast some guys and some guys didn’t do anything today.”
“It is a very good league, it’s very talented and we have got to get better.”
“Next year I want a very fast, quick and good moving, good passing team. When we did that we did pretty well but it wasn’t on a consistent basis.”
Here is what Rapid City Rush coach, Joe Ferras had to say after the game.
“We played a picture perfect game.”
“We held them to six shots in the first two periods, our penalty kill was perfect, we kept creating chances and it paid off in the end.”
“Everybody was engaged for the game. There were no passengers for this ride.”
It will be an interesting match up tomorrow night pitting one team that has had too much rest with Allen having ten days between games against a team that has had no rest with Rapid City winning last night and then making the long trip (1058 miles) to Allen overnight. Rapid City won’t arrive in Allen until late this afternoon.
There will be a complete series preview tomorrow.
Here is the schedule for the Allen vs Rapid City series:
Game 1 – Fri May 1, 7:05 PM Rapid City at Allen
Game 2 – Sat May 2, 7:05 PM Rapid City at Allen
Game 3 – Wed May 6, 6:35 PM Allen at Rapid City
Game 4 – Thu May 7, 6:35 PM Allen at Rapid City
Game 5 – Sun May 10, 4:05 PM * Allen at Rapid City
Game 6 – Tue May 12, 7:05 PM * Rapid City at Allen
Game 7 – Wed May 13, 7:05 PM * Rapid City at Allen
FIRST ROUND ODDITIES:
There were three game 7’s last night for the first time ever in the ECHL and in all three the home team was victorious. In addition to Rapid City the other winners were Toledo who beat Wheeling 2-1 in overtime and South Carolina who beat Reading 3-2.
In the odd stat of the night one player scored both of the goals in the Rapid City 2-1 win (Cody Ferriero) and the Toledo 2-1 win (Kyle Bonis). In the third game Joe Devin had the second and third goals for South Carolina in their 3-2 win.
Talk about the first round playoffs going as predicted by how the teams were seeded and it was almost perfect. In the North, East and Central Divisions all of the #1 and #2 seeds advanced. Only in the Pacific Division where #4 seed Utah beat #1 seed Idaho was there an upset.
DIVISION FINAL SCHEDULE:
Here is the schedule for the Division finals in the North, East and Pacific Divisions with how the teams were seeded in parentheses.
North Division Finals
TOLEDO (#1) vs. FORT WAYNE (#2)
Game 1 – Fri May 1, 7:35 PM Fort Wayne at Toledo
Game 2 – Sat May 2, 7:35 PM Fort Wayne at Toledo
Game 3 – Tue May 5, 7:30 PM Toledo at Fort Wayne
Game 4 – Thu May 7, 7:30 PM Toledo at Fort Wayne
Game 5 – Sat May 9, 7:35 PM * Fort Wayne at Toledo
Game 6 – Sun May 10, 6:00 PM * Toledo at Fort Wayne
Game 7 – Wed May 13, 7:35 PM * Fort Wayne at Toledo
East Division Finals
FLORIDA (#1) vs. SOUTH CAROLINA (#2)
Game 1 – Fri May 1, 7:30 PM South Carolina at Florida
Game 2 – Sat May 2, 7:00 PM South Carolina at Florida
Game 3 – Tue May 5, 7:05 PM Florida at South Carolina
Game 4 – Wed May 6, 7:05 PM Florida at South Carolina
Game 5 – Fri May 8, 7:05 PM * Florida at South Carolina
Game 6 – Mon May 11, 7:30 PM * South Carolina at Florida
Game 7 – Tue May 12, 7:30 PM * South Carolina at Florida
Pacific Division Finals
UTAH (#4) vs. ONTARIO (#2)
Game 1 – Sun May 3, 3:00 PM Utah at Ontario
Game 2 – Mon May 4, 7:00 PM Utah at Ontario
Game 3 – Wed May 6, 7:05 PM Ontario at Utah
Game 4 – Fri May 8, 7:05 PM Ontario at Utah
Game 5 – Sat May 9, 7:05 PM * Ontario at Utah
Game 6 – Tue May 12, 7:00 PM * Utah at Ontario
Game 7 – Wed May 13, 7:00 PM * Utah at Ontario
ON THE FARM: The Worcester Sharks (AHL) beat the Hershey Bears last night in Hershey by a score of 4-1 and now trail in the best of five series 1-2. They play again on Friday and Sunday (if necessary) in Hershey.
DID YOU KNOW: During the regular season Allen was 8-4 against Rapid City. They were 6-1 at home and 2-3 in Rapid City.