RAPID CITY, SD — The visiting Idaho Steelheads took a lopsided 4-1 win over the host Rapid City Rush on Friday night, a contest filled with a combined 26 penalties and 80 minutes served in the box.
The opening frame was even-keeled with both teams registering seven shots on goal. The Steelheads were able to squeak by with a 1-0 lead with a special teams goal by Will Merchant at 8:40 who fired a shot from the far faceoff circle to beat Rush netminder Christian Frey.
Despite another close defensive effort in the middle frame the Steelheads pocketed another goal late in the period to double their lead. Connor Chatham was able to beat his defender and slip the puck through Frey’s 5-hole at 16:09 to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage heading into the 2nd intermission.
Everything seemed to fall apart in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
The level of apparent egregious calls piled up for the Boys from the Black Hills. Head coach Danny Tetrault took exception and continued arguing calls with the refs which prompted his ejection from the game. Assistant coach Nello Ferrara would take over duties as “Bench Boss” for the remainder of the period. Rapid City continued to withstand penalty kill situations, nine in total, to keep a win within the realm of possibilities. Brady Brassart would chip away at that possibility when he slapped the loose puck by Frey at 16:29 to give the Steelheads a 3-0 edge. Dante Salituro was finally able to beat Steelheads netminder Ryan Faragher at 18:35 to cut the deficit to 3-1. Bassart tallied his second of the period, an empty netter and 8th of the season, with six seconds left on the clock for the 4-1 final.
Ryan Faragher takes the win stopping 24-of-25 shots on the night while Christian Frey, making his first start since October 22nd, takes the loss stopping 21-of-24 shots faced.
The Steelheads look to complete the 3-game sweep when both teams face off tonight at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.