(ANCHORAGE, AK) – Sean Erickson afforded the Rapid City Rush a fighting chance in an offensively potent first period, but the Alaska Aces held off their visitors in the final 40 minutes of play to claim their second victory over the Rush in as many nights, defeating them by a 4-1 count on Saturday night.
Offense was the story of the first period with five goals coming in the opening 20 minutes of play. Four of them came from the home side, the first of which was scored by Peter Sivak, who banked the puck off of new Rush net-minder Sam Marotta after taking a bank pass from Nilan Nagy off the back wall to give the Aces a 1-0 lead just 52 seconds into the game (Nagy and Patrick Wellar recorded the assists). Moments later, Justin Breton completed a two-on-one break on a pass from Perfetto and sent it off the glove of Marotta and in, doubling the Aces lead to 2-0 with 5:56 gone by in the period (Perfetto and Tomasso Traversa received the assists). Less than two minutes later, Sean Erickson halved the Rush deficit and got them on the board with his first of the season, ripping a wrist shot in the near faceoff circle of the Alaska zone by Aces goaltender Troy Redmann, bringing the Rush within striking distance at 2-1 at the 7:20 mark of the first (Chris Ciotti and Brian O’Rourke received the assists). Alaska fired right back on their first power play of the game at the 11:52 mark of the first period, as Anthony De Luca rotated to the high slot and fired a wrist shot by Marotta with traffic in front of him, making 3-1 in favor of the home side (Perfetto earned his second assist, while Daniel Johnston added his first on the goal). Tim Coffman rounded out scoring entries of the first period with a one-timer by Marotta in the far faceoff circle of the Rush zone, adding to the Aces advantage at 4-1 with 2:14 left in the first (Wellar added his second assist of the game, whil Sivak earned his second point with his first helper. The last two periods of the contest were scoreless between both clubs despite the best efforts of the Rush, who hit multiple posts and received multiple chances on the power play. Troy Redmann stopped the remaining attempts on his net and protected the Aces lead, powering his club to its second win in as many games against the Rush with a 4-1 victory.
Sam Marotta falls in his Rush debut, stopping 27 of 31 shots (3-2-0 overall, 0-1-0 with Rapid City).
The series comes to its finale tomorrow afternoon at 5:05 p.m. MST at Sullivan Arena. Following the game, the Rush will celebrate the Christmas holiday and come right back to it on the road against their archrivals, the Colorado Eagles, in a home-and-home series on December 26th in Colorado and December 27th in Rapid City.
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