TULSA, OK — Daniel Leavens fired home his first game-winning goal in a shootout in the bottom of the second round, but once again it was Christian Frey who stopped 52 of 54 shots to help the Rapid City Rush pick up a 3-2 win in a shootout over the Tulsa Oilers.
Peter Sivak struck first for the Rush within the final minutes of the first period to give them the advantage heading into the first intermission. With 2:06 remaining, Ian Brady contained the zone and rimmed the puck to Dante Salituro on the left-wing wall. Salituro fired it on net, and Sivak buried his shot on the back door of Tulsa’s Devin Williams to give the Rush a 1-0 lead after one period (Salituro and Brady assisted).
Charlie Sampair tied the game in the early stages of the second to square the game up for his Oilers side. With 1:25 gone by in the frame, Adam Pleskach found Sampair from behind the goal line, and Sampair fired a bouncing puck by Rush net-minder Christian Frey to tie the game at 1-1 (Pleskach and Ryan Tesink assisted). The Rush eventually jumped back on top before the end of the frame, with Alex Kromm scoring his first goal since January 21st. With 8:30 left in the second, Kromm contained the puck on the blue line of the Oilers zone, and got a give-and-go pass from Garrett Klotz. Kromm went full wind-up and followed through with a howitzer that whizzed over Williams shoulder to give the Rush a 2-1 lead heading into the third period (Klotz and Alec Baer assisted).
Tulsa wouldn’t go away, and Sampair tied the game up again in the opening moments of the third period. With 2:20 played in the third, Sampair hacked the puck towards the Rush net, and it was played by a Rush defender right past Frey inadvertently to tie the game back up at 2-2 (Pleskach and Garrett Ladd assisted). Both teams couldn’t muster another goal in regulation, and went into overtime. The extra five minutes also didn’t yield a game-winning goal, so both teams squared off in a shootout.
Tulsa’s first two shooters, Roman Ammirato and Sampair missed the net in the first two rounds, while Baer hit the post in the bottom of the first round of the shootout. Leavens provided the eventual game-winner in the bottom of the second round, and thanks to Frey’s blocker save of Steven Kaunisto in the top of the third round, the Rush held on for the 3-2 win.
For a second straight game, Christian Frey stopped over 50 shots, staving off 52 of 54 in 65:00 of work. He has now won 3 of his last 5 starts.
The Rush play their final game of the season against the Oilers tomorrow night. Puck drop for the final showdown between the Mountain Division rivals is slated for 7:05 p.m. CST at the BOK Center.
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It’s the Sights of the Game, presented by Black Hills Regional Eye Institute.