Thursday was by all accounts a hard day for the Rapid City Rush as it was announced that franchise mainstays Riley Weselowski and Josh Elmes had been traded.
Friday was much better.
In the afternoon the Rush announced the name of its new team president, and then at night behind 41 saves from Adam Carlson, Rapid City blanked the Utah Grizzlies for the second straight game 3-0.
"There's a good buzz here with the new ownership and the new team president," Rush coach Daniel Tetrault said. "We're going to have resources here to put on a winner and that's why we didn't stay silent (Thursday). We want to win, we want to bring these fans a winner. There's a sense of urgency here and that's why those decisions get made."
All night Carlson was peppered with shots, but for the second night in a row not one got by him.
"Goaltending has been great all season," Tetrault said. "We addressed the issue last summer and it's been terrific all season."
Carlson had a great first period. When the Rush’s offense failed to generate many shots, he had to stop some point-blank shots to keep the game scoreless.
"He's a leader on and off the ice," Tetrault said of Carlson. "Last time he got sent back (from the AHL) he was really disappointed. Mentally he wasn't all there. We had a 1-on-1 meeting and I told him, 'We've got 13 games left, and they're mostly going to be your games. He's really stepped up to the plate.
"He's just zoned in, he knows how important it is. We had some moves to improve the club currently and in the future and he's a big part of that."
Tetrault said he was asked by multiple teams about trading for Carlson, but he wasn't going to move his number one goalie anywhere.
"That's the kind of kid he is," he said.
The game stayed scoreless through the first period, with Carlson recording 16 saves while the Rush only generated six shots of their own through the first 20 minutes.
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All that hard work was rewarded when Rapid City scored a goal to make it 1-0 with under 12 minutes to go in the period.
Alec Baer scored on assists from newcomer Alex Rauter and Tyler Poulson. At the end of the second the score was still 1-0.
Rapid City added some insurance when a Garrett Klotz breakaway was stopped by Joe Cannata, but the shot went up in the air and behind the goalie where it rolled into the net with less than seven minutes remaining.
He was assisted by Justin Faryna, and after going up two goals there wasn’t much chance for the Grizzlies to come back.
The Rush added an empty net goal from Cedric Montminy with 1:16 remaining to make it official.
He was assisted by another new face to the Rush, Dexter Dancs. Tetrault said the moves made Thursday were attempts to solve a problem that has plagued Rapid City this season, scoring goals.
"We addressed the goal scoring with all the moves we made," he said. "We believe we made the right deals, they were difficult but it's for the better of the team."
The win put the Rush at 23-29-5-3 with 54 points, still 10 points behind the Kansas City Mavericks for the final playoff spot.
Tetrault said the moves Thursday and a renewed Carlson might just be enough for the Rush to at least make the Mavericks nervous about their final playoff spot.
"We're going to go hard these last 11 games and try to win them, every one," he said. "If we don't make the playoffs then kudos to Kansas City but we want to finish strong and these guys truly believe we can win every game."
The Rush and Grizzlies face off from the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center tonight at 7:05 p.m.