SLAPSHOT POSTGAME COVERAGE PRESENTED BY ASSURANT SOLUTIONS
RUSH FORCE GAME 7 WITH 3-2 WIN
(RAPID CITY, SD) – Riley Weselowski, Winston Day Chief, and Patrick Cullen all scored their first goals of the postseason in an offensively potent first period, and Danny Battochio staved off 24 shots, as the Rapid City Rush survived Game 6 and defeated the Quad City Mallards by a 3-2 score on Tuesday night. The win by the Rush forces a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow night for a second consecutive year against Quad City in the opening round of the playoffs.
For a third home playoff game, the Rush scored within the first two minutes to take an early lead. With 68 seconds gone by, Riley Weselowski, playing in his Rush record-breaking 52nd playoff game, fired a shot from the blue line through traffic that was deflected past Mallards goaltender Evan Mosher, lifting the Rush to a 1-0 advantage. The Rush earned their first multi-goal lead of the postseason at the 9:59 mark of the first as Winston Day Chief rifled a wrist shot past Mosher on the blocker side to double the Rush lead to 2-0. Prior to the conclusion of the first period, Kale Kerbashian was elbowed by Mallards forward Pearce Eviston, which resulted in a five-minute major power play for the Rush. The score-at-will power play favored the Mallards first, however, as Kevin Baker scored shorthanded on a coast-to-coast break down the ice. His backhander beat Rush netminder Danny Battochio to halve the Mallards deficit at 2-1 with 32 seconds remaining in the period. Despite the adversity of the shorthanded goal, the Rush battled back, and with 2.6 seconds left in the period, Patrick Cullen slammed a loose puck home in front of Mosher’s net, re-establishing the Rush’s two-goal advantage at 3-1. Parker Milner took over goaltending duties in the second period for the Mallards.
Austin Coldwell brought the Mallards to within one once again, scoring 59 seconds into the third period on a scramble in front of Battochio’s crease to bring the score to 3-2 with, more or less, a whole period to play. The Rush thwarted any and all offensive chances in the latter parts of the period, and Battochio made plenty of key saves down the stretch to hang onto the 3-2 lead for the win, forcing a decisive Game 7 tomorrow night.
Battochio evened his postseason record and stopped 24 shots on 26 faced (3-3-0). For the first time all series, the Rush held the Mallards from scoring a power play goal, forcing the Flock to go 0/3 on the man-advantage.
Game 7 is slated for tomorrow night, with puck drop coming at 6:35 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The winner of tomorrow night’s contest plays the #1 Allen Americans in the ECHL’s Central Division Finals.
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