RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Rush are under the gun if they hope to extend their season beyond their regular season finale on April 6.
Over the past two weekends, the Rush came away with five of a possible 12 points against some relatively tough competition.
On the road against the Steelheads, who currently sit atop the Mountain Division and are 4th overall in the league, Rapid City secured three points going 1-1-1 against their division rival.
Coming back to the confines of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center they faced the Atlanta Gladiators for the first time in franchise history.
Both teams were in similar situations, sitting in the 5th spot trying to gain ground for the final playoff spot in their division.
The Gladiators came away with a close 2-1 win in the Friday night contest, thanks to a late goal from Zach Malatesta with just over two minutes left in regulation.
Saturday night’s contest was not as one-sided as the score sheet would indicate as the visitors owned a 1-0 edge heading into the middle frame. A pair of powerplay goals just over 60 seconds apart put a wide gap that Rapid City was not able to overcome, with the Gladiators tacking on an empty netter late in the 3rd period.
The Rush did get a win on Saturday to prevent the sweep pocketing three goals in the opening frame against former Rush netminder Michael Bitzer, who was later replaced with Sean Bonar who shut the Rush down the remainder of the game.
A Long Road Ahead
The Rush have 15 games left in the regular season. Currently, they sit in fifth place in the Mountain Division and are six points behind the Kansas City Mavericks, who have five games in hand on the Rush.
Of their remaining games, eleven of them come against the Utah Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads. The Boys from the Black Hills will need to play with near-perfection if they hope to stand a chance at climbing the ladder, which will also require help from any team playing the Mavs the rest of the season.
Rapid City hits the road to wrap up the season series against the Wichita Thunder and Allen Americans, both sitting at the bottom of the division.
Puck drop for the contest against the Thunder will take place tonight at 7:05 pm CT/6:05 pm MT at Intrust Bank Arena.
The contest against the Americans is slated for Sunday, March 3. Puck drop scheduled for 3:05 pm MT at the Allen Event Center.