Editor’s note: Throughout www.eraneta.com/jonathan-marchessault-c-1_15.html November, the Pucks and Recreation staff will alphabetically recount every state’s most memorable all-round hockey calendar year. The final installment of the five-part series covers South Dakota through Wyoming. In descending priority, we will take into account achievements by major professional, college, minor professional and junior teams plus players born or raised in a given state.
South Dakota: 2010
In their only championship campaign to date, the Rapid City Rush clinched all three series at home. They sweetened the ride by finishing two of those sets on an overtime goal.
The two-year-old franchise clinched its first series with a 7-6 sudden-death decision versus Missouri. It improved to 2-0 in overtime and 5-0 all-time in the postseason by bumping Bossier-Shreveport, 5-4, to open the semifinals.
The Mudbugs flexed enough formidability to break Rapid City’s perfection. But the Rush ran away with Game 7, stamping their passport to the Central League final. There they won their fourth and fifth overtime tilts, including a 4-3 Game 6 thriller to finish the Allen Americans. – Al Daniel
The Nashville Predators leaped into the national spotlight this year when they reached the Stanley Cup Final. Their unique traditions and fan support struck a chord with NHL enthusiasts everywhere. Many of the eliminated teams’ fan bases got behind them late in the run.
Expectations were high entering 2016-2017, as Nashville banked on a bevy of young talent and new blue-line anchor P.K. Subban. The Predators had an initially harder time fulfilling those predictions, but saved their best for the spring.
Upon eking into the playoffs, Nashville swept Chicago in the first round, then upset St. Louis en route to their first conference final. A subsequent series win over Anaheim gave the franchise its first Campbell Bowl. – Zach Green
The Turner Cup and the Stanley Cup have both gone to a Lone Star State team but once. Those titles came two weeks apart.
On June 5, 1999, the Houston Aeros edged the Orlando Solar Bears, 5-3, in Game 7 on home ice. It was their second straight winner-take-all triumph, following a 4-1 thumping of the incumbent champion Chicago Wolves.
As it happened, the night before Houston’s clincher, the Dallas Stars nabbed their own 4-1, penultimate-round Game 7 victory. www.goldenknightsproshops.com/james-neal-c-1_5.html Upon ousting Colorado, the repeat President’s Trophy winners carried on with unfinished business. They made their last checkmark in Buffalo on June 19 (technically the wee hours of June 20). – A.D.
The Salt Lake Golden Eagles had previously aggregated five playoff titles in the Central and International Leagues. But only the 1996 Grizzlies had to win four rounds to bring Utah a title.
The opening series constituted a rematch of the previous Turner Cup championship, which the Grizzlies won while representing Denver. The Kansas City Blades nearly had their redemption, but Utah won back-to-back elimination games in the best-of-five set. From there, the Grizzlies took another do-or-die contest against Peoria, upset Las Vegas in six and swept Orlando.