Fourth-seeded Rapid City (39-23-4) enters the series with Tim Boron in goal. Boron notched the first 30-win season of his career in the 2013-14 season, making this playoff match up a must see series as two prolific offenses and solid goaltenders on both sides indicate that this series will be one to remember. Both teams hold an identical 3-2-1 record against each other this season.
The Rush opened the season with ten-straight wins, and established a new CHL record with 12 road wins in-a-row to start the year. Rapid City struggled towards the end of the regular season, posting a 3-3-4 record in their last ten games while losing their final three games. They will rely heavily on Jesse Schultz (23 G, 62 A – 85 points), while defenseman Sean Erickson provides solid defense and a good amount of their offense, as he contributed 46 points in 59 games. Boron (30-12-2), a finalist for the CHL’s Most Outstanding Goaltender, will backstop the Rush throughout the series.
The fifth-seeded Mallards (33-23-10) made some moves to solidify their playoff roster by adding rookie forward Joe Perry from Division III St. Norbert. Perry won championships in three of his four years at the school. Quad City will also see the return of several players. Goaltender Ty Rimmer and forward Jim McKenzie are both back with the Mallards after stints in the AHL. Rimmer spent time with the Oklahoma City Barons while McKenzie served a lengthy stint with the Iowa Wild.
The Mallards also made other moves, releasing defenseman Jordan Lane and placing forward Gabriel Levesque IR, while second-year forward Mike Hellyer was activated from IR.
The Mallards and Rush will face in the playoffs for the first time. During the regular season the two teams were evenly matched at 3-2-1 in head to head competition. Players to watch include Gergo Nagy (QC 2 G, 4 A – 6 points), Konrad Reeder (RPD 3 G, 3 A – 6 points), and Jesse Shultz (RPD 1 G, 5 A – 6 points) who lead scoring in head-to-head match ups.
The playoff series will feature a host of current and former QC Mallards on both sides of the ice. Rapid City has 5 players who once played for the Mallards in Ryan Palmer, Eric Giosa, Jared Brown, Anthony Perdicaro, and Bobby Preece.
The Mallards finished the season with momentum winning their last four games on the strength of 17 goals over their last three games. The Mallards finished the season ranked 9th in power play percentage while scoring shorthanded in each of their last four games to lead the league with 12 shorthanded goals on the year.
Game 1: Quad City at Rapid City, Friday, April 4 at 7:05pm
Game 2: Quad City at Rapid City, Saturday, April 5 at 7:05pm
Game 3: Rapid City at Quad City, Wednesday, April 9 at 7:05pm
Game 4: Rapid City at Quad City, Friday, April 11 at 7:05pm
Game 5: Rapid City at Quad City, Saturday, April 12 at 7:05pm (If necessary)
Game 6: Quad City at Rapid City, Tuesday, April 15 at 7:05pm (If necessary)
Game 7: Quad City at Rapid City, Wednesday, April 16 at 7:05pm (If necessary)
Photos by Rich Guill (Sean Flynn Photography)