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RUSH COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN OVERTIME TO UTAH AMIDST CONTROVERSY

Friday, November 13th
RUSH COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN OVERTIME TO UTAH AMIDST CONTROVERSY

(WEST VALLEY CITY, UT) – The Rapid City Rush, down three goals to the Utah Grizzlies in the third period, mounted a three-goal come-back to force overtime, but, amidst controversy 1:59 into the three-on-three overtime, fell by a 5-4 score on Friday night in the Maverik Center.

Utah, riding their red-hot four-game winning streak, struck first in the first ever meeting against the Rush. With 6:11 gone by in the first period, and 8 seconds into the first Rush power play of the night, Rush center Dan O’Donoghue won the faceoff cleanly to his defense. The puck squeaked by the Rush defense, unable to keep the puck in on a diving effort, and Utah forward Alex Krushelnyski went on a shorthanded breakaway, beating Rush netminder Danny Battochio under the blocker to put the home side up 1-0. Just over four minutes later, Destry Straight put the Rush on the board to even things up with his first professional goal, sending a low-zone cross-ice pass behind Utah goaltender Ryan Farragher to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:02 left in the first (Taylor Doherty and Chris Ciotti received the assists, with Ciotti recording his first professional point with the helper).

It was all Utah in the second period, as the Grizzlies scored twice within the first 75 seconds of the frame, and eventually 3 in the first 7:15 of the period. The first goal, 33 seconds in, came from Torin Snydeman, sending a sharp-angle shot from the near wall low in the Rush zone. Battochio got the initial stop, but it just squeaked under his arm and in, giving Utah a 2-1 lead (Brent Gwidt recorded the assist). Exactly 42 seconds later, Erik Higby slammed home a rebound on the back door to build a two-goal lead for the Grizzlies (Corey Fienhage and Matt Berry received the assists). With 7:15 gone by, Alex Krushelnyski sent his second of the night by Battochio, giving Utah what would be their final goal of regulation at 4-1 (Charlie Sarault and Ryan Walters got the assists).

With 20 minutes to go, the Rush mounted their second three-goal comeback on the road this season behind scoring from all over the roster. With 2:13 gone by in the final period, Michael Bunting scored his second goal in his last three games on a shot from the high slot to cut the Rush deficit in half to 4-2 (Straight picked up his second point of the night with the assist, Scott Brannon received the secondary). With 4:08 left in the game, Zach Cohen recorded his first goal of the season, sending a wrist shot from the far wall of the Utah zone through traffic and off of a Utah defenseman in front of the net and in, bringing the Rush within striking distance at 4-3 (Winston Day Chief and Jonathan Narbonne received the assists). The Rush completed the comeback with 1:24 left in the game with the extra-attacker, as Dakota Mermis scored his first professional goal off of an open rebound off of Farragher, tying the game at 4-4 (Sean Erickson and Dan O’Donoghue recorded the assists), forcing overtime for the second time this season for the Rush.

With 1:59 gone by in the extra session, the Rush were caught in their own zone, including Sean Erickson losing his stick on the account that it broke. Utah held the puck in the Rush third of the ice for quite some time, until Alex Krushelnyski crashed the net. Despite the fact that Battochio stopped the puck between his legs, Krushnelnyski got two pokes of the puck between Battochio’s leg, which did not prompt a goaltender-interference call. Instead, Krushelnyski’s poke checks jarred the puck loose and into the Rush net, leading to the completion of his hat-trick, and a 5-4 win for the Grizzlies.

Danny Battochio stopped 35 of 40 shots in the contest, including 15 of 16 in the first period, receiving an overtime loss for the first time this season (4-2-1).

Both teams will rematch tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. MST, in the second of what will eventually be five consecutive matchups between the foes by the end of next weekend.

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