Rapid City Rush @ Idaho Steelheads
Regular Season Game 2-October 17, 2015
Where We Left Off: Fished Out – Dan O’Donoghue lit the lamp for the Rush, but the two goals of Colton Beck, three assists of Andre Bouvette-Morisette, and 22 stops of Eric Hartzell were too much as the Idaho Steelheads defeated the Rapid City Rush in their first-ever meeting on Friday night at Century Link Arena by a 5-1 score.
It took eleven minutes and fifteen seconds, but the Steelheads broke up the perfection on both sides of the scoreboard. In the midst of a scramble in front of the net, which included Rush net-minder Nick Riopel losing his goaltending stick, Steelheads defenseman Cole Martin carried the puck in the high slot and slipped it past Riopel, putting the Steelheads up first by a 1-0 count.
The Steelheads doubled their lead thanks to help from special teams in the second period. On their second power play of the game, Steelheads forward Colton Beck slammed a loose puck by Riopel in a 6-man traffic jam in front of his net. The power play tally made the Steelheads lead 2-0 with 9:25 gone by in the second.
The Rush began the third period with 1:48 of power play time, but it did not benefit the Rush, as Jefferson Dahl tripled the Steelheads lead to 3-0 on a shorthanded break just 33 seconds in to the final act. The home side continued their success in their home-opener, cashing in yet again on the power play at the 4:01 mark of the third. Andrew Carroll completed a tic-tac-toe passing play in front of Riopel’s net and added to the mountain of Idaho’s goals and made the advantage 4-0. Eventually, the Rush would break the wall that was Steelheads goaltender Eric Hartzell, and hit pay-dirt on their sixth power play of the night. With 11:47 left in the game, Dan O’Donoghue scored his first goal in a Rush uniform and slammed home a rebound on a Kirill Tulupov shot that broke an opposing stick on the play, putting the Rush on the board with a 4-1 score. Colton Beck added a second goal to his stat column with 6:11 left in the game and deflected a shot behind Riopel, bringing the game to its final score of 5-1.
The Series – In their first-ever meeting between these new West Division rivals, the Steelheads took the victory. This season, there are now 11 head-to-head matchups remaining, with the second of the 12 overall this season coming less than 24 hours removed from the previous matchup.
O’Boy – One of the lone bright spots in last night’s game was second-year forward Dan O’Donoghue. The Port Jefferson, New York native slammed a rebound off of a shot on the sixth Rush power play of the night to put the Rush on the board and spoil the pending shutout of Steelheads goaltender Eric Hartzell. When all season-opening matchups are taken into account, O’Donoghue is the youngest player in Rush history by virtue of years of professional experience to score the first goal of the season for the Rush.
CRUNCHING NUMBERS: Last Night vs the Steelheads – We still don’t have too many crazy numbers to go off of for today, but here are some more figures to go over:
• 23 – the number of shots for both the Steelheads and the Rush last night. For the Rush, that’s their lowest shot total in a season-opening game, but more impressively on the defensive side, 23 is the second-lowest total that the Rush have allowed in the same scenario.
• 70 – the combined PIM total of both the Steelheads and the Rush from last night. The 70 PIM resulted in 13 power plays, 9 of which were awarded to the Rush. The 70 PIM are the second-highest total for the Rush on opening night, behind last season’s 112 PIM between the Eagles and the Rush, and the 13 power plays are tied for the second-highest in a Rush season opener. Jimmy Bonneau claimed 14 of the 25 PIM on the Rush’s side of things, while Taylor Peters and Corbin Baldwin combined for 28 of the Steelheads 45 PIM.