RAPID CITY, SD — The Rapid City Rush stepped up the tempo following Wednesday’s night loss breaking a 2-2 tie in the final frame to pull away for a 4-2 win Friday night over the Idaho Steelheads.
The night’s first tally went to Idaho when Max French was able to deflect a rolling puck over the shoulder of Rush netminder Christian Frey at 2:55 for the early 1-0 lead. Assists were credited to Cole Ully and Charlie Dodero on the play. The Rush were able to counter just over halfway through the period. Andrew Miller backhanded a rebound off a shot from Pavel Jenys by Steelheads netminder Philippe Desrosiers that squared the game at 1-all with 6:34 remaining. The opening period ended with the score tied up at 1-1 and the Rush outshooting the Steelheads 15-to-14. But the biggest advantage for the Rush happened in the closing minute. Rapid City looked to carry 1:06 of their powerplay into the 2nd period until A.J. White was called for tripping at the end of the frame. So the Rush would actually have a 5-on-3 advantage for opening 1:06 of the 2nd period.
And they took full advantage of that opportunity. With nine-seconds left on the 2-man advantage Dante Salituro fired a one-timer by Desrosiers to put the Rush ahead 2-1. This was also Salituro’s team-leading 7th powerplay goal on the season. Special teams for Idaho countered less than five minutes later. Steven McParland was able to secure the puck amongst the frey in front of the Rush net and fired it off the far post to beat Frey to put the game at 2-aside with 14:08 remaining in the period. The Rush outshot the Steelheads again, 11-to-8 in the frame, 26-to-22 through the first forty minutes of regulation and each team lighting the lamp on the powerplay.
Both teams were looking for that crucial goal to spark a “W” and it looked as though Miller would score his second goal on the night. But the power shot that rang off the iron fooled everyone except the refs who waived off the apparent go-ahead goal. Peter Sivak would leave no doubt with his goal at 6:50, his first since returning from bereavement from the recent loss of his father, blasting a shot over Desrosiers shoulder to give the Rush a 3-2 edge. Idaho pulled their netminder late in hopes of getting the equalizer but instead Matt Caito fired the puck almost 200 feet across the ice into the empty net at 18:34 to secure the 4-2 win and split the first two games of the series.
The Rush ended regulation outshooting the Steelheads 35-to-25 and went 1-for-5 on the man advantage while Idaho went 1-for-7 on the powerplay.
Christian Frey is credited with the win stopping 23-of-25 shots he faces while Philippe Desrosiers takes the loss stopping 31-of-34 shots on the night.
Both teams will finish up their three game series with the rubber match Saturday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.