The road trip for the Rapid City Rush (21-1-4-3) hits the midway point tonight as they play game four of their seven-game journey in Dayton against the Gems (15-19-7).
The Rush and Gems have built off of last season’s playoff series by creating quite a rivalry. The teams have met five times this season with the Rush winning three of those but in the last meeting, the Gems came away with a 3-2 shootout win (Jan. 27 in Dayton).
Rapid City is coming off an impressive 4-0 victory over the Bloomington Blaze on Monday night as veteran Konrad Reeder stole the show with a hat trick and an assist in his four-point night. Tim Boron made 28 saves earning his second shutout of the season.
Dayton has won back-to-back games for the first time since December 18 and 22. They are coming off a one-goal victory over Turner Conference leading Evansville on Saturday.
Five different Rush skaters have five points against the Gems this season and Damian Surma leads all skaters with four goals in the season series.
On Friday, Rush leading scorer Jesse Schultz was injured on a kneeing major penalty by Kyle Bochek (the hit earned Bochek a one-game suspension). Schultz has missed the last two games and is questionable for tonight’s meeting while Bochek will be back in the line-up after missing Saturday’s game.
The Rush are currently in fifth place in the Turner Conference with 45 points but a win tonight could vault them into a tie for fourth place with Quad City and just one point behind third place Missouri.
Dayton is currently 10 points out of the final playoff spot and are trying to erase the demons from a stretch that has seen them go 7-14-3 since Dec. 3.
Newcomers David Nimmo and Robin Richards are hoping to help that cause after coming over in separate trades. Nimmo has put up three goals and an assist in eight games with Dayton and Richards has an assist and 26 PIM’s in eight games.T
he Gems signed defenseman Dustin DeGagne on Monday to help bolster the blue line. DeGagne played in Bloomington last season where he totaled nine points (2-7=9) and a +4 in 55 games played with the PrairieThunder.
With a loss on Dec. 6 to Quad City, the Rush fell below .500 but have since taken off going 13-5-2 since.