RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rush are just one series away from closing the books on 2018 and welcoming the 2019 calendar year.
Heading into their three-game series against the Steelheads the Rush are enjoying the best (nearly) first half of the season since their first season in the ECHL.
Through 32 games Rapid City is sitting in the fourth spot in the Mountain Division, just three points removed from the top-seeded Utah Grizzlies (though Utah also has five games in hand on the Rush).
In their last ten games, the Rush have posted a 4-5-0-1 record which includes taking two-of-three games in Utah’s barn. The biggest tarnish through the month of December was being swept by the Thunder on their ice, falling in all three games and being outscored 11-2. But since that rough patch, Rapid City has posted a 3-2-0-0 record to keep themselves in the thick of things late in December.
A major contributor to that success, Adam Carlson, who is now reaping the benefits of all that hard work. Late last week, Carlson received a call-up to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals as they prepare for their division rivals, the Chicago Wolves.
Carlson does have previous experience at the AHL-level, going 2-3-0 with a 2.85 GAA and a .903 SV% in six games with the Hershey Bears during his professional career.
His presence between the pipes will be greatly missed as he has amassed a 10-5-2-2 record through 19 games (18 starts) which includes two shutouts. He’s among elite company when you look at the league standings in numerous statistical categories as well. Currently, Carlson is tied for fifth in the league for wins (10), tied for second for shutouts (2), tied for sixth for GAA (2.48) and third in save percentage (.930).
But don’t think that Carlson is the only netminder the Rush can rely on.
Tyler Parks proved he can stand tall in the face of adversity on Friday night against the visiting Wichita Thunder. With his club down 3-1, he was able to make numerous impressive saves to give the Rush the opportunity to chip away at the 2-goal deficit and force extra hockey. He continued to shine all the way through the shootout, turning away all three shooters for Wichita to earn his first ECHL win.
Never Say Die
One of the most impressive stats the Rush own heading into 2019 is their third period offensive numbers. Rapid City is currently outscoring the opposition 29-19 in the final frame of regulation, further proving that until that final horn sounds and the clock reads triple-zeros you can’t count out the boys from the Black Hills.
In an interview between Mark Binetti and Rush head coach Daniel Tetrault before Saturday’s contest, the bench boss had this to say.
“The no-quit attitude that this team has, and that the players have, is unbelievable. We’re never out of a game. They just keep pressing and we find ways to win games. It truly is special this year.”
Rapid City almost came away with back-to-back rallies in Saturday night’s contest against Wichita but the Thunder made sure to keep up their intensity and not let their guard down the entire 60-minutes of regulation. They held on for a 2-1 victory in regulation to split the weekend series.
The Rush hope to continue that magic, however, as they close out the season against the Idaho Steelheads.
By the Numbers
A few tidbits to keep in mind as the Rush welcome the Steelheads for a three-games-in-four-night series to close out 2018.
Rapid City has a 2-3-1-0 record against Idaho this season
Idaho has posted two shutouts against the Rush this season, both on Rapid City’s home ice
Idaho is currently outscoring Rapid City this season, 17-10, through six games
The Rush will play host to the Steelheads for the final three games of 2018 on Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Puck drop for all three games is scheduled for 7:05 pm MT at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.