Calgary’s new ECHL affiliate in Rapid City, South Dakota has kicked off its first year under the Flames family umbrella!
The deal with the Rapid City Rush was announced on August 25th this summer and the team will be the minor league affiliate to not just the Flames, but also the newly relocated Calgary Wranglers of the American Hockey League.
The Rush had not qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs since they were fresh off merging into the ECHL from the Central Hockey League in 2015. However, they had a second place finish in the Mountain Division last year where they made it to the second round of the playoffs before bowing out to the Utah Grizzlies in six games.
The Rush have had a slow start to the season despite their good finish last year, and part of the problem is they’re currently knee-deep in a six-game home-and-home split series with the division leading Idaho Steelheads who swept their home half already. The Rush also split a pair with Calgary’s old affiliate club from Kansas City before that, and opened the season with a win-loss split against the Utah Grizzlies in a playoff rematch. The Rush currently sit one point out of the division’s final playoff spot, but it’s plenty early to be worried about that positioning. Middle of the pack is fine when you’re no even into double digits for games played yet.
GAME BY GAME:
OCT 28th- Rapid City Rush 6 vs KC Mavericks 4 -WIN
OCT 29th- Rapid City Rush 0 vs KC Mavericks 3 -LOSS
NOV 2nd- Rapid City Rush 2 @ Idaho Steelheads 3 -LOSS
NOV 4th- Rapid City Rush 1 @ Idaho Steelheads 4 -LOSS
NOV 4th- Rapid City Rush 0 @ Idaho Steelheads 5 -LOSS
NOV 9th - Rapid City Rush 4 vs Idaho Steelheads 2 -WIN
Calgarian Matt Marcinew continues to power the offense, tacking on five points in his last six games and giving him nine total for the team lead. Here he is sealing the win on Wednesday with an empty netter:
MARCINEW with the Empty Net Goal to seal the 4-2 Rush win!— Rapid City Rush (@RapidCityRush) November 10, 2022
Get home safe, Rush Nation!! We'll see you on Friday! pic.twitter.com/4QOwgqo7O0
In the blue paint, Flames goaltending prospect Deniil Chechelev continues to lead the charge in Rapid City. He’s started six of eight for the squad, coming out with three wins and three losses and having allowed 18 total goals over that span. He has a .917 Save Percentage and 3.03 Goals Against Average heading into Friday night’s action.
He’s rocked some highlight-reel moves along the way, including these from last Wednesday’s matchup against Idaho:
Defenseman Tyson Helgeson has surpassed his namesake and fellow blueliner Kenton Helgeson for the team lead in penalty minutes, 19-14 respectively. Fisticuffs run in the family, as Kenton had a pair of tilts in his first two games and Tyson is not far behind laying the foil to the Steelheads:
Tyson Helgesen out here making all the friends this season pic.twitter.com/hMACKHrIa7— Rapid City Rush (@RapidCityRush) November 5, 2022
Rapid City will stick around at their home rink this weekend to close out their three game homestand at The Monument against Idaho for two. They’ll then be back out on the road for another three game set as the team will clash with the Tulsa Oilers for the first time this season, and then it’s back home for another trifecta with the KC Mavericks coming to town for an Affiliate Bowl rematch.
Check back with M&G in two weeks to see if the Rush can get back to .500!