SLAPSHOT POSTGAME COVERAGE PRESENTED BY ASSURANT SOLUTIONS
RUSH RALLY STIFLED LATE ON NYE; FALL TO AMERICANS 5-3
(ALLEN, TX) – The Rapid City Rush and Allen Americans renewed their storied rivalry once again, engaging in a New Year’s Eve showdown. The Americans, looking to become the fifth team in the ECHL to reach the 20-win mark, did so through two quick scoring streaks and two Rush goaltenders, but had to stave off a late rush from their visitors. Despite a rally from the Rush, the Americans closed out 2014 with a 5-3 win on home ice.
The Americans picked up from where they left off against the Rush, and struck on a shorthanded goal halfway through the period. Rylan Schwartz navigated a sea of skaters and sent the puck by an outstretched Raphael Girard, giving the Americans a 1-0 lead with 9:41 left in the first. Exactly three minutes later, Jack Combs would double the Americans lead to 2-0 with a shot through the slot that got by the traffic in front of the net. It led to the substitution of Raphael Girard for Danny Battochio, who would play the remainder of the game. The Rush would catch some momentum on their third power play of the game. Cashing in on a series of rebounds was Robin Soudek, sending the puck over Aaron Dell to put the Rush within striking distance at 2-1 heading into the break.
The Americans went on another two-goal rally in the second period, spanning 1:27. The first came from Garrett Clarke, his first goal of the season, at the 9:46 mark of the period. The next came from Jack Combs for his second of the night, beating Battochio in a one-on-one battle from the near wall to extend the Americans lead to 4-1. Hope was not lost for the Rush, who have shown resiliency in their previous games facing deficits, and they struck with little time left in the second. Justin Faryna, with 36.3 seconds left cut the deficit in half to 4-2, finishing a Sean Erickson pass through the slot heading into the final break.
The Rush hacked away at the deficit once more, riding the hot hand of Daniel Barczuk. Barczuk somehow hacked the puck through a pileup of traffic and past Dell to bring the Rush even closer at 4-3 with less than half the third period to play, and even took an unnecessary spear from the Allen netminder following his third tally in two nights. In desperation, the Rush pulled Battochio from his net for the extra-attacker, but it led to Jack Combs netting his hat-trick, the first one scored against the Rush this season, which sealed a 5-3 win for the Americans.
Danny Battochio, in 46:14 of relief, receives his twelfth loss of the season (9-12-2), stopping 19 shots out of 21 faced. Sean Erickson, playing in his 350th game as a professional, recorded an assist, and extends his point streak to seven games (2 G, 7 Ast, 9 Pts) and assist streak to five games. Their road-winning streak of four games, a season high, was snapped, as was the Rush three-game win streak on New Year’s Eve games, now falling to 5-2 on the final day of the calendar year. Both teams will rematch eachother Friday night at the Allen Event Center, with puck drop slated for 6:05 p.m. MST.
Other Rush News:
Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game! Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this summer through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.