RAPID CITY, SD — The Rapid City Rush held the lead the majority of the contest Friday night but the visiting Colorado Eagles rallied to steal the win.
For the third consecutive game the Rush light the lamp first off a turnover in the Rush zone. Pavel Jenys secured the puck in the Rush attacking zone and flung it on net where Kenton Miller was able to drive home the rebound by Eagles netminder Joe Cannata at 2:51 of the opening frame. Rapid City doubled their lead at 11:06 during a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity when Peter Sivak found paydirt pocketing his own rebound. This was Sivak’s fourth goal on the season. Rapid City would take their 2-0 edge into the 1st intermission.
Colorado’s first powerplay opportunity came late in the opening period and would bleed into the middle frame. They would capitalize on the man advantage with just over 30 seconds remaining on the penalty. Jake Marchment took a pass off the high slot and ripped a shot off Rush netminder Shane Owen at 1:08 to cut the Rush lead in half. It wasn’t long before Rapid City responded. Jack Walker picked up his fourth goal of the season and picked up a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive game, securing a turnover and taking a backhander top-shelf at 3:33 giving the Rush their 2-goal edge again. Colorado countered with a pair of goals roughly three minutes apart. The first came when Jesse Mychan took a rebound attempt at 6:24 to pull the Eagles within a single goal. The Eagles tied the contest up 3-3 at 9:26 of the middle frame during 4-on-4 hockey off a shot by Emil Romig who took advantage of a clean shooting lane and blasted the puck by Owen. The Rush regained the lead at 17:08 off a close-range strike by Daniel Leavens who scored with a sharp angle shot. Rapid City took their 4-3 lead into the 2nd intermission.
The defending Kelly Cup Champs took over in the final twenty minutes of regulation. Michael Joly scored back-to-back goals, including the team’s second powerplay goal, to put the Eagles on top for the first time in the game. His first goal came at 9:37 of the period as he stayed behind the pack and took the feed with a wide-open shooting lane and rifled the puck by Owen to tie the contest 4-4. He then pocked the eventual game winner at 15:59 while the Eagles were on the powerplay, ripping the rebound attempt by Owen to score his 22nd goal on the season and give Colorado the 5-4 edge. Rapid City pulled Owen for the man-advantage but Colorado was able to drive the nail in the coffin at 19:43 with the empty netter from Ryan Harrison for the 6-4 final.
Joe Cannata is credited with the win stopping 23-of-27 shots on the night while Shane Owen takes the loss stopping 19-of-24 shots.
Rapid City outshot the Eagles 27-to-25 during regulation and went 1-for-6 on the powerplay while Colorado countered with two powerplay goals on their six attempts.
Both teams will close out the 2017 calendar year with the final game of this weekend series tonight, December 30th, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.