Rush’s Stefanovich goes for third straight hat trick Saturday

Mikhail Stefanovich of Rapid City will try to become only the fifth player in ECHL history to score three-or-more goals in three straight games when the Rush host Quad City tonight at 7:05 p.m. MT.

The 26-year-old scored three goals, including the game-winner and a power-play tally, in Rapid City’s 7-2 win over Wichita on Tuesday and added another hat trick, including another game-winner, the Rush’s 5-2 victory against Quad City on Friday.

The last time an ECHL player had three goals or more in three consecutive games was 1997 when Steve Gibson of Wheeling scored three goals against Johnstown on March 16, three goals at Peoria on March 18 and four goals against Columbus on March 21.

Brian Martin of Hampton Roads was the first player to score a hat trick in three straight games, accomplishing the feat in 1989 on Dec. 9 against Nashville, Dec. 10 against Virginia and Dec. 12 against Knoxville. The record was tied by Trent Kaese of Columbus in 1992 and Darryl Noren of Charlotte in 1994.

Ten players, including Stefanovich, have scored hat tricks in back-to-back games since Gibson tied the record with the last prior to this season being Brampton’s Chad Painchaud who had back-to-back hat tricks against Rapid City on Feb. 13 and 14, 2015. Shane Harper of Trenton had three goals against Wheeling on March 22 and 23, 2013 while Utah’s Colin Vock had back-to-back hat tricks at Ontario on Feb. 1 and 2, 2013. J.M. Daoust of Cincinnati tallied three goals on Dec. 16, 2007 against Johnstown and on Dec. 19, 2007 against Wheeling. Dusty Jamieson of Charlotte scored three goals on Oct. 20 and 21, 2006 against Wheeling. Miguel Delisle of Idaho scored three goals in consecutive games against Bakersfield on Dec. 17 and 19, 2004 while Andrew Williamson of Toledo scored three goals in consecutive games on Feb. 9, 2001 at Johnstown and had four goals on Feb. 10, 2001 at Johnstown. Williamson led the league with 63 goals in 1999-2000 and 52 goals in 2000-01.

In a six-game span in 1999-2000, Jay Murphy of Louisiana scored four hat tricks, including back-to-back games on Mar. 12 against Birmingham and Mar. 17 against Jacksonville, and had two goals in the other two games. Paul Strand of Raleigh scored five goals on Jan. 17, 1998 against Roanoke and had three goals on Jan. 23, 1998 at Hampton Roads.