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A lot of things have changed from the time Justin Faryna was last on the Rapid City Rush.

One thing that hasn't changed; is his desire to bring Rapid City to the playoffs. 

He began his career in the ECHL with Rapid City and has since been playing oversees for the last three seasons and began the season with the Cardiff Wales, but was brought back to Rapid City for the Rush's playoff push.

Since signing with the Rush Jan. 10, the 30-year-old right winger  has appeared in 13 games, scoring three goals and registering three assists as well as 25 penalty minutes.

"We’re starting to play in our systems more, playing with more structure than when I first arrived," he said. 

The Rush are currently in fifth place in the mountain division, trailing the Kansas City Mavericks by four points at 20-24-4-3 with 47 points.

Now that he's settled in, Faryna said he's starting to find that his role is different than the last time he was here.

Now, Faryna isn't a bright-eyed new player. He said his role is to help some of the younger players learn about what it takes to make the playoffs, which Rapid City did all three years he suited up for them.

"I had a good feeling when I visited that we would be able to get this done," he said."Mostly I’m trying to a be a mentor to the younger guys. I think we’re jelling all together as a team now."

During his previous stint with the Rush, Faryna played in 148 games where he scored 24 goals, recorded 20 assists from 44 points.

One of the things that hasn't changed is some of the faces, including captain Riley Weselowski and coach Daniel Tetrault, who has there as a player during his first stint.

Now, Tetrault is calling the shots. Faryna said Tetrault was one of the players he thought could become a coach when his playing days were over, so playing for a coach that he used to be such close friends with isn't as weird as some might think.

"He’s one of the guys you love to play with," he said. He's the kind of guy you listen too as a a leader, so with him behind the bench it hasn’t changed that much."

It certainly isn't as strange as the situation he had in Cardiff, where he played with a player-coach on the same line as him, which he said was a harder situation to get behind than playing for a coach he used to play with.

"That was much weirder," he said laughing. "Having (Tetrault) behind the bench doesn’t compare with that."

The Rush begin a three game series with the Idaho Steelheads Wednesday.

Idaho is second in the division with a record of 29-17-1-2 with 61 points, only four behind the Utah Grizzlies for first place in the division.

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.