SLAPSHOT POSTGAME COVERAGE PRESENTED BY ASSURANT SOLUTIONS
RUSH, DEPLETED BY INJURIES, FALL 4-3 TO ALLEN
(ALLEN, TX) – The Rapid City Rush kicked off the new year in a tilt with the Allen Americans on Friday night. Looking to rebound from their loss on Wednesday night, the Rush looked to earn their first win on the road against the Americans, but injuries, most sustained in the second period, would hinder the Rush from coming back, as they lost their third straight in the head-to-head series by a 4-3 score.
The Americans once again jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but this time around the Rush answered promptly. Ian Schultz was the first entry on the scoresheet, deflecting a Kevin Young shot on the first Amercians power play of the game to give the home side an early 1-0 lead just under seven minutes gone by in the first period. Just over the half-way point of the opening frame, Gary Steffes deflected a perfect pass from his captain Jamie Schaafsma past Danny Battochio’s outstretched glove to double the Americans lead to 2-0. But 28 seconds later, the visitors would strike back. On a hard-fought effort in the right-wing face-off dot, Dylan Clarke fed Justin Faryna to cut the deficit in half to 2-1. With 1:17 left in the game, J.P. Chabot tipped a Jesse Schultz pass past Riley Gill on the first Rush power play of the game, to tie the game at 2-2 heading to the second.
The Rush special teams gave them their first lead against the Americans in their house all season long, but calamity marred the period. Aaron Gens at the 7:09 mark of the period, attempted to instigate a fight with Robin Soudek and was assessed a two-minute minor for instigating a fight, along with the traditional five minutes as well. Soudek was down for quite some time due to a hit he sustained in the altercation. He was escorted off the playing surface and would not return for the remainder of the game. The Rush would make the Americans pay for it, as Landon Oslanski notched his fourth power play goal of the season, his fifth total, rifling a shot from the blue line to give the Rush their only lead of the contest at 3-2 with 11:55 to go in the second. Almost a minute later, Jack Combs would tie the game at 3-3 on a rush, backhanding a shot over Battochio. Moments later, Garrett Clarke charged Jonathan Narbonne with a vicious hit in the Rush attacking zone. He surface hard and, did not get up, and after an almost 15-minute delay, Narbonne was taken off the ice in a stretcher and did not return. Because of his actions, Clarke was assessed a match-penalty, intent to injure, and was ejected from the game. Coupled with the loss of Taylor Law earlier to a high-stick (also did not return), the Rush were down three men on the bench. Unfortunately, the five-minute major power play that resulted from Clarke’s hit did not benefit the Rush. After Jesse Schultz clanked the crossbar, the rebound came to Jack Combs on a fortuitous bounce, and he sent Ian Schultz on a shorthanded break that resulted in his second goal of the night, giving the Americans a 4-3 lead with 9:30 left in the middle act. It would prove to be the game-winner, as the Rush fell by that score after a rally fell short late in the third.
Danny Battochio received his thirteenth loss of the season (9-13-2) while stopping 23 of 27 shots faced. The Rush power play went 2/5 on the evening (40%), and ended 3/11 against the Americans in this two-game set (27.27%). The Rush go back to Tulsa to play the Oilers in two matchups to close out this three-in-three set, with puck drop scheduled for 6:35 p.m. MST.
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