Games: The Mallards meet Rapid City twice, visting South Dakota's Rushmore Plaza Civic Center tonight and Saturday for 8:05 p.m. faceoffs.|
Radio: WFXN-AM 1230 and wfxn.net. Webcast: myqcmallards.com (pay-per-view CHL TV).
Storyline: Rapid City (11-7-5, 27 points) has won three straight and sits four standings points behind first-place Allen in the Central Hockey League race. However, the Mallards (8-11-3, 19 points) won the only prior meeting with the Rush this season, 3-2 in a Nov. 18 shootout at the i wireless Center. The Flock is 7-4 against Rapid City since entering the CHL in 2010, including a 2-2-0 mark in South Dakota.
News: The Mallards announced Thursday they will retire the No. 18 of franchise great Glenn Stewart on Jan. 4. The ceremony kicks off the 15th anniversary celebration of the Mallards' back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. That celebration includes a series of promotional nights through the end of this season. Stewart is the Flock's all-time leading scorer with 218 goals, 211 assists and 429 points in 251 games from 1996-2000. Stewart is the fourth Mallard to have his number retired, joining former teammates Kerry Toporowski, Mark McFarlane and Steve Gibson.
Notes: Terry Ruskowski sits three wins shy of 600 for his 18-season coaching career. The Mallards coach is 597-427-105. ... QC's Brett Robinson is three points away from 100 for his career. ... QC's Patrik Levesque is five goals shy of 100 for his career. ... QC scoring leader Mickey Lang (11 goals, 23 points) leads the CHL in shorthanded goals (3). ... Rookie Mike Hellyer has scored four of his six goals this season in four games since last Friday. ... Matt Boyd has a goal and four assists in his last six games for the Flock. ... QC's Obi Aduba is tied for the league lead in game-winning goals (4).
Around the league: Rapid City waived former Mallard John Snowden on Thursday to make roster room for the return of 2011-12 CHL All-Star Jesse Schultz. ... Another Mallard from last season, Jared Brown, is on the 30-day Injured Reserve list with the Rush. ... In last Saturday's 4-1 win in Arizona, Rapid City forward Damian Surma recorded the first "natural'' hat trick in the history of the Rush franchise. The veteran sharpshooter leads the squad with 23 points on the season. ... Rapid City's All-Star goalie Tim Boron ranks third leaguewide with a .922 save percentage.
Next: The Mallards host Tulsa for games next Friday and Saturday.
-- By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org