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. When we last checked in, they had lost four of six and found themselves one point out of last place in the ECHL’s Mountain Division. The team has since fought their way back to a .500 record, collecting five wins and three losses since to sit at an eight-and-eight record with no SOL points. This places them in a four way tie for 4th place, knotted up with Utah and Tulsa and leaving the Allen Americans alone in the basement.
GAME BY GAME:
NOV 11th- Rapid City Rush 2 vs Idaho Steelheads 4 -LOSS
NOV 12th- Rapid City Rush 4 vs Idaho Steelheads 3 -WIN (SHOOTOUT)
NOV 17th- Rapid City Rush 2 @ Tulsa Oilers 2 -LOSS
NOV 19th- Rapid City Rush 9 @ Tulsa Oilers 1 -WIN
NOV 20th- Rapid City Rush 4 @ Tulsa Oilers 2 -WIN (OVERTIME)
NOV 23rd- Rapid City Rush 5 vs Kansas City Mavericks 2 -WIN
NOV 25th- Rapid City Rush 3 vs Kansas City Mavericks 4 -LOSS
NOV 26th- Rapid City Rush 7 vs Kansas City Mavericks 5 -WIN
Calgarian Matt Marinew continues to lead the team goals and point scoring race, including a hat trick on Saturday to give hime ten goals on the year. And for good measure, that same game was Marcinew’s milestone 200th in the ECHL! Here’s a look at his hatty against KC:
HAT TRICK AND WE'RE GOING TO @WaTikiResort!!!!!!— Rapid City Rush (@RapidCityRush) November 27, 2022
Flames prospects Ilya Nikolaev and Rory Kerins are both holding down top five spots in the team scoring race, with 11 and 16 on the season so far respectively.
Speaking of ECHL milestone games, veteran Logan Nelson hit one in the same Saturday night clash that Marcinew did. Nelson played in his 400th ECHL game, and tacked on the empty netter to seal the night.
A poetic finish tonight, Logan Nelson gets the empty netter in his 400th ECHL game https://t.co/9isQc11AKi— Brian Gardner (@ImBrianGardner) November 27, 2022
In the blue paint, Flames prospect Daniil Chechelev continues to carry the workload, including a career high 38 saves on November 12th in a shootout win against first place Idaho. He’s up to 12 starts, which is the most by any ECHL goalie so far this year. He’s also faced the most shots in the league so far with 427, almost an hundred more than anyone else trailing in that department. We can expect him to carry on over backup Adam Carlson, who has chipped in sporadically along the way.
After wrapping up a homestand with the Flames old affiliate from Kansas City, the Rush will hit the highway for a series against the Mountain Division’s last-place Allen Americans. It’ll be a timely opportunity to capitalize on a weaker opponent and maybe distance themselves from the pack they’re currently stuck in. It’s then back home to the friendly confines of The Monument to host the Wichita Thunder for three, which will also have big divisional implications since they’re only two points ahead of Rapid City right now. Then it’s back on visitors side of the ledger for the first of three season-high five game road stints this year, and it’s a tough test series against the runaway division leader Idaho Steelheads.
Check back with M&G to see if the Rush can keep climbing their way past .500 and higher!