Rapid City: 3.18 goals per game in regular season, 9th in CHL; 4.00 in playoffs, 4th
Fort Wayne: 2.83 goals per game in regular season, 16th in CHL; 4.67 in playoffs, 1st
Rapid City: 3.03 goals against per game in regular season, 7th in CHL; 2.67 in playoffs, 7th
Fort Wayne: 3.09 goals against per game in regular season, 8th in CHL; 2.00 in playoffs, 3rd
Rapid City: 17.1 percent in regular season, 10th in CHL; 38.5 percent in playoffs, 1st
Fort Wayne: 18.4 percent in regular season, 6th in CHL; 31.3 percent in playoffs, 2nd
Rapid City: 80.6 percent in regular season, 16th in CHL; 75 percent in playoffs, 12th
Fort Wayne: 83 percent in regular season, 8th in CHL; 93.8 percent in playoffs, 4th
Rapid City: 19.47 minutes in regular season, 7th in CHL; 11.33 in playoffs, 13th
Fort Wayne: 20.48 per game in regular season, 3rd in CHL; 12.67 in playoffs, 10th
Forwards: Rapid City
Defensemen: Rapid City
Special teams: Komets
Komets forward Mathieu Curadeau vs. Rapid City forward Scott Wray
Special teams keyed the Komets to their first-round sweep of the Bloomington PrairieThunder, and no player factored more into that than right wing Mathieu Curadeau.
He had four goals and eight points in the series, with one goal and three assists on the power play, plus two short-handed goals.
After his subpar regular season, in which he totaled only 14 goals, 33 points and a team-worst minus-24 rating, Curadeau’s been particularly driven to redeem himself in the playoffs.
Wray is a similar player in that he has a knack for scoring big goals – he has 103 over the last four seasons – and he’s a special-teams ace, too. In the regular season, he had six goals and 12 points on the power play and two short-handed goals.
In the Rush’s first-round sweep of Dayton, it was deadly on the power play (38.5 percent) and poor on kills (75 percent), while the Komets were 31.3 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively. Wray had a power-play goal and assist against the Gems, so the advantage on paper, right now, seems to go to Curadeau.
Other Showdowns To Watch
Komets forward Danny Lapointe vs. Rapid City defenseman Vladimir Hartinger
Lapointe has been a defensive specialist for the Komets, winning faceoffs and blocking shots.
Hartinger has a rocketing shot from the point; he had 10 goals off 93 shots in 45 games. If he effectively gets blasts on the Fort Wayne net, especially on the power play, it could set up rebound goals for the Rush. Lapointe will have to buckle down on the perimeter to limit this sort of attack.
Lapointe can be opportunistic offensively – he has seven goals and 17 points in 37 games with Fort Wayne – while Hartinger can get caught. Look for the transition game to factor in for Fort Wayne.
Komets forward Colin Chaulk vs. Rapid City forward Ryan Menei
Menei is one of the most opportunistic forwards in the CHL. His 39 goals ranked fourth in the league during the regular season, and his scoring percentage of 17.8 ranked 18th.
Chaulk loves the challenge of going up against players like that by hounding them all over the ice, stealing the puck and breaking off on a rush. He had 10 goals and 40 points in 39 games.
He’ll have to mark a lot of great players in this series, but shutting down Menei could be the key.
Rush in five games