Game Preview - Blaze and Rush Start Three-Game Series


RUSH (25-21-5) @ BLAZE (25-22-2)

at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum, 7:05 PM CST


Watch LIVE on CHL-TV!


Pregame Notes


Season series: This is the eighth of 10 meetings on the season and the first of three straight games between the two clubs who will finish out their season series this weekend with a pair of games in South Dakota.

The Blaze have won four of the previous seven matchups and are 3-2 on home ice against the Rush.  Bloomington has outscored Rapid City 27-22 in the season series.

Special teams have been huge in the series with the Blaze going 7 for 34 (20.6%) against the Rush and Rapid City going 7 for 28 (25%) against Bloomington.  Considering the Rush are ninth in the CHL at 14.5% with the man advantage, their success against Bloomington is noteworthy.

Damian Surma has two goals and 11 assists in the games against Bloomington and Jarret Konkle leads the way with five goals.

For the Blaze, they have relied on one of the league’s top scorers (Jon Booras) against the Rush.  The forward has five goals and six assists.
    
The Scoop: Coming off a 3-2 win in Quad City last night, the Rush look to gain some momentum in the first of three straight games against the Blaze that could have huge implications for one of these teams in the standings. 

Rapid City is currently in sixth place with 55 points, three more than the seventh place Blaze who have 52 points.

Bloomington has split their last four home games and on the season are 15-9-1 at home.

This game features the top power play unit in the league (BLM at 23.3%) and the second best penalty kill unit (RPD at 85.6%).

The second period has been the strength of both teams as Bloomington has outscored the opponent 68-57 (+11) in the middle frame and the Rush are a +14 outscoring their opponents 53-39.  The 39 goals allowed are tied for the fewest of any team in the second period (Wichita). 
 
Team Spotlight

Rapid City:
The Rush winds down a four-game road trip and are looking to finish above .500 on the journey (currently 2-1-0).  Rapid City looks to avenge a loss earlier on this trip to Bloomington, 6-4 on Saturday night.

Rapid City is 12-12-4 on the road and in their last six away from home have posted four wins.

Former Mallards forward Jared Brown made a living last season against Bloomington scoring five goals with six assists and as of late is heating up for the Rush with a point-a-game over his last 18 contests (3-15=18).

Goaltender Danny Battochio stopped a personal three-game slide last night in Quad City with a 26 save effort.  He is 10-9-1 on the season with a an outstanding 2.38 GAA.

Bloomington: The Blaze have struggled defensively in recent weeks but look to be turning things around in the past five games.  Goaltender Pier Pelletier and his teammates have allowed three goals or fewer three times in their last handful of games.

Pelletier has earned the decision in 10 straight games going 4-6-0 over that stretch but on the season he is 16-13-0 with 817 saves (third in the CHL).  His 16 wins are already a career high.

Bloomington’s Jon Booras got off to a great start this season and has kept it up most of the way sitting tied for fourth in the league with 65 points (23-42=65).  His 11 power play goals are tied for the most in the league.

Who’s hot: Rapid City newcomer Dan Gendur has scored two goals and added an assist in the three games he has played for the Rush.  Last season in Rio Grande Valley, the forward scored 28 goals.

Bloomington defenseman Steve Makway has two goals and three assists over his last four games and on the season ranks fourth among blue liners in scoring with 36 points (10-26=36).
 



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