(RAPID CITY, SD) – Spencer Pommells and Chris Ciotti each recorded a goal and an assist, and Daniel Barczuk added his second goal in as many nights, but Michael Young stole the show with his overtime winner, powering the Rapid City Rush to a 4-3 win in overtime over the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night.
For a fourth consecutive night, the Rush opened up scoring entries within the first five minutes once again. With 4:50 gone by in the first, Chris Ciotti gave the Rush a 1-0 lead on his first goal as a professional hockey player, stuffing home a rebound in front of Utah goaltender, Ryan Faragher, and his net (Spencer Pommells and Zach Cohen earned the assists). However, less than a minute later, Utah evened the score. Exactly 53 seconds later, Erik Higby buried a back-door pass from Ryan Walters by Rush net-minder, Danny Battochio, to level the game at 1-1 (Walters recorded the lone assist). Towards the end of the period, Rush forward Destry Straight was ejected from the game after a blindside hit on Utah’s captain, Brent Gwidt. In the ensuing fracas following the hit, Jon Puskar was assessed a 2 minute minor for roughing, while Straight received “2, 5, and a 10” for roughing, elbowing, and a game misconduct, respectively. It forced two minutes of four-on-four hockey, leading to a score-at-will power play for Utah that spanned three minutes. Utah could not capitalize on the opportunity, and after the second period, the score remained unchanged.
After 39:52 of scoreless hockey from the first period both teams unloaded for four total goals, and Utah opened the entries by taking their first lead over the Rush since late in Wednesday night. With 5:35 gone by in the final period, Charlie Sarrault broke the draw and gave the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead (Ryan Misiak and Alex Krushelnyski received the assists). Moments later, Garrett Clarke kept the puck in the Utah zone and sprung Spencer Pommells for a short breakaway. Pommells five-holed Faragher to tie the game a 2-2 with 11:13 left in the game (Clarke received the lone assist). Two minutes and forty seconds later, Daniel Barczuk gave the Rush a 3-2 lead with 8:23 left in the game on his second goal in as many nights as Chris Ciotti fired a shot from the near wall of the Utah zone and off of his shin pad to re-establish a Rush advantage (Ciotti recorded his second point with the assist, Scott Brannon added the secondary assist). The Grizzlies fired back with 3:26 to go in the game, tying the affair and setting up our third game in this series requiring post-regulation play. Barry Almeida barely got the puck by Battochio from close range, recording his 100th career ECHL point on the game-tying tally (Torin Snydeman got the lone assist).
In our third bout of three-on-three overtime in this set, Cody Ferriero sprung Michael Young on a breakaway between the Utah defense, leaving him all alone with Faragher from the blue line in. Young faked and popped the bottle off of Faragher’s net, winning the game with 1:47 gone by in overtime, securing that coveted second point for the Rush in a 4-3 win.
Danny Battochio stopped 24 of 27 shots in the contest, improving to 6-2-1.
This concludes the five straight matchups between the Grizzlies and Rush. The next time both of these teams will meet is in the Maverik Center on January 6th of 2016. Next week, the Rush welcome the Idaho Steelheads into Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center for the first time ever in a three-game-in-four-night set. Puck drop for the first game on Wednesday, November 25th, is slated for a 6:35 p.m. MST start.
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