(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush and Denver Cutthroats clashed for the sixth time this season, rekindling their rivalry in what was the first game in a three game in four night set. Last time these two foes squared off, history was on the line, with the Rush prevailing and re-writing the CHL history books in a tight series. Tempers flared Friday night, and hostilities were exchanged, but it would be the Rush taking the two points against the Cutthroats and further separating themselves in first place, thanks to Winston Day Chief’s 2-goal night in a 4-1 win.
The Rush attacked relentlessly from the opening puck drop, dominating the possession of the offensive zone, and grinding down the Cutthroats defense. As mentioned before, hostilities would fly, as Denver’s Daniel Amesbury would square off against Rush defensemen Justin Sawyer in a fight not even two minutes into the game. Eventually, the Rush would receive the first power play of the night, generating solid scoring chances for the majority of the two minute man-advantage. Despite the Rush being unable to score on the power play, Konrad Reeder would still find the back of the net, sending in a rebound from a Sean Erickson shot to give the Rush a 1-0 lead with 10:56 left in the first. The Rush were not done there, as they would use a fortuitous bounce to their advantage. Winston Day Chief would attempt to center the puck towards the Denver net, but instead it would bounce off the skate of a Cutthroats defenseman and past goaltender Travis Bosch to extend the lead to 2-0 with 3:51 still to play in the opening frame. Towards the end of the period, Sawyer would once again drop the gloves, this time with Daniel Barnes, and the Ryan Palmer would get into a scuffle, giving the Cutthroats their first power play of the game to start the second period.
The Cutthroats, down two goals, would start the second period on the power play, showcasing the league’s best unit in that category. Not even 29 seconds into the period and man-advantage, Garrett Bembridge would score his league leading 28th goal to put the Cutthroats on the board and cut their deficit in half to 2-1. Moments later, the Rush would earn another power play, but would be unable to convert on the man-advantage, but that wouldn’t stop the hosts. As the power play expired, Winston Day Chief would notch his second goal of the night, roofing a rebound above Bosch to re-establish the two-goal Rush lead with 16:10 left in the second. The Rush would continue to increase their offensive pressure on the Cutthroats, clanking the crossbar a number of times in the remainder of the second and third periods. The Cutthroats would pull Bosch for an extra attacker in the late moments of the third, and Justin Sawyer, sending the puck almost the full length of the ice, would officially seal the game with 6.5 seconds left, giving the Rush a 4-1 win.
Keaton Hartigan improved his professional record to 5-4-0 in his ninth appearance and eighth start, stopping 27 of the 28 shots thrown his way in earning the win. Winston Day Chief has been on fire since returning off the IR, having scored 12 goals with 6 assists for 18 points in 12 games back. Jared Brown made his return from injury, playing for the first time since November 29th, a span of 17 games. After allowing three power play goals against Missouri last Saturday, the Rush penalty kill came roaring back, allowing only one power play goal on five Denver opportunities, including killing off a five-on-three chance, and killing off two minutes and twenty-nine seconds of continuous power play time for the Cutthroats. The Rush have now won five consecutive games against the Cutthroats, owning a 5-1-0 record in the six games played between both clubs, with eight games still remaining in the series. Both of these teams will meet in a rematch tomorrow night at 7:05 MST in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center for game two of this three game in four night set.
Other Rush News:
Season tickets for the 2013-14 season are available now by calling the Rush office at 716-7825.
The Rush’s 6th annual “Pink at the Rink” game, sponsored by Dave Davis Agency, is set for Friday, January 24th, as the Rush take on the Wichita Thunder. The team will be wearing specialty pink jerseys to be auctioned off at the conclusion of the game. All proceeds will go to the Rush Foundation, with a portion of the proceeds going to Rapid City Regional Health. If the team receives $10,000 in donations that night, the Rush players will get their heads shaved in an event sponsored by Great Clips on Monday, January 27th.
Don’t forget to join Mark Binetti, “Voice of the Rush”, and Head Coach/GM Joe Ferras for “The Rush Hour with Coach Ferras”, presented by Miller Lite. The show returns to the air next year on Monday, January13th, and will be held at 6 PM at Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. The show is broadcast on 100.3 The FOX, the official radio home of your Rapid City Rush.
Stay informed on Rush happenings through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.