(ANCHORAGE, AK) – Daniel Barczuk and Kale Kerbashian helped the Rapid City Rush tie the game late in the second period, but the Alaska Aces pulled away with three goals in the third to defeat the Rush in their first-ever meeting in Anchorage by a 5-2 score on Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, the Aces opened up entries on the stats sheet with two quick goals in the first 10 minutes of the secon. On their first power play of the game, Collin Valcourt put the Aces on the board by deflecting a shot from his captain, William Wrenn, by Rush net-minder Danny Battochio with 1:39 gone by in the frame (Wrenn and Gleason Fournier picked up the assists). Fournier added his second point of the contest with his first goal, taking a pass from Justin Breton moments later and sending it top-shelf by Battochio to double the Aces lead to 2-0 with 6:44 gone by in the frame (Breton recorded the lone assist). The Rush fired right back in the final five minutes of the frame, starting off with Daniel Barczuk’s fifth goal of the season. With 4:49 left in the period, Gleason Fournier turned the puck over to Barczuk after he knocked into the referee. Barczuk went the distance and beat Aces goaltender Troy Redmann to put the Rush on the board down 2-1 (the goal was unassisted). With 1:55 remaining in the frame, Kale Kerbashian tied it with his second goal of the season, burying a cross-ice pass low in the Aces zone from Brian O’Rourke, leveling the game at 2-2 (O’Rourke and Barczuk recorded the assists, Barczuk’s second point of the contest).
After the Rush failed to capitalize on their final power play of the game to start the third, Alaska pulled away with three scores. The first came at the 2:37 mark of the final frame of the game, with Tim Coffman beating Battochio for his first of two in the period, giving the Aces the go-ahead strike for a 3-2 lead (the goal was assisted Valcourt-his second point and first assist, and Garrett Haar). Peter Sivak re-established the two-goal Aces advantage after he sent a rebound in the far faceoff circle of the Rush zone by Battochio to make it 4-2 with 6:54 left in the game (Haar earned his second assist of the contest on the goal, while Coffman recorded his second point of the game with the other assist). Coffman netted his second of the period and the final goal of the game after he scored on a drop pass from Sivak over the Rush blue line with 3:19 left in the game, giving the Aces what would eventually be a 5-2 win (Sivak recorded the assist for his second point of the game, while Valcourt added his second assist for his third point of the game).
Danny Battochio made 40 saves on 45 shots in his third consecutive start, but received the loss in the effort (7-5-1).
Both teams re-match tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m. MST in the second of their three-game-in-three-day series this weekend before the Christmas holiday.
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