(RAPID CITY, SD) – The series came down to Wednesday night. The Rapid City Rush and Quad City Mallards squared off for what would be their final matchup of the season in a winner-take-all Game 7 in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Mallards looked to win their first Game 7 in their last three appearances in that situation, and behind 26 saves from Thomas Heemskerk, the Mallards would eliminate the Rush with a 3-1 win.
Scoring didn’t pick up until the second period, where the Mallards cashed in early. Jordan Mayer threw the puck at the net past Tim Boron, giving the Mallards a 1-0 lead just 1:33 into the frame. Moments later, capitalizing on a two-on-one break, Thomas Frazee would go in on Boron one-on-zero and flip the puck by him, extending the Mallards lead to 2-0 with 12:59 left in the period. Exactly 2:01 later though, the Rush would cut the deficit in half 2-1 going into the third period on the power play on Winston Day Chief’s first goal of the playoffs, crashing the net on a Jesse Schultz effort. That score would hold on until late in the third period, where the Rush would be called for an elbowing minor with just over three minutes to play. The penalty did no favors for the Rush, with Vladimir Nikiforov rifling a power play goal past Boron to all but seal the game for the Mallards, who would go on to eliminate the Rush in Game 7 by a 3-1 score.
Tim Boron made 19 saves in the loss, his third of the playoffs (2-3). The Rush scored their second power play goal of the playoffs from Winston Day Chief in the second period, which was his first of the postseason. The Rush are eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for the third consecutive year, and lose their second Game 7 in franchise history. The Mallards advance to play the defending champion Allen Americans in the CHL semifinals.
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THANK YOU ALL FOR A GREAT SEASON! WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU PACK RUSHMORE PLAZA CIVIC CENTER NEXT YEAR AS THE RUSH FIGHT FOR THEIR SECOND RAY MIRON PRESIDENT’S CUP CHAMPIONSHIP!!!