(LOVELAND, CO) – Lindsay Sparks scored twice, and Josh MacDonald and Sean Erickson also added tallies, but Sam Marotta withstood a barrage of 39 shots, stopping 36 as he powered the Rapid City Rush to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday night.
The Rush built off of their offensive momentum from last night, and opened up the scoring early in the game. With just 1:17 gone by, Max Nicastro passed up to Lindsay Sparks, who split his oncoming defenders in receiving the pass and finished with a wrist shot by the blocker of Colorado goalie Clarke Saunders to put the Rush up 1-0 (Nicastro records his first point with the Rush on the assist, while Sean Erickson received a helper as well). The Eagles fired right back on the power play moments later, as Johnny Lazo struck on a similar play and finished with a wrist shot up high on Rush net-minder Sam Marotta to even the game at 1-1 with 4:01 played in the first (Tyler Fiddler and Jesse Mychan registered the assists). Josh MacDonald gave the Rush the last say in the first as he slammed a Ryan Walters pass by Saunders in point-blank position to put the Rush back on top 2-1 (Walters and Ryan Misiak assisted on the goal).
Lindsay Sparks struck again for the Rush on a turnover caused by Eagles captain Trent Daavettila for his second tally of the game. Not even seconds after Ryan Misiak served two minutes for a tripping minor, he was handed the puck from Daavettila and went up the ice with Sparks on a two-on-one rush. Misiak deferred to Sparks at the last second, and Sparks went forehand-backhand and sent the puck by Saunders to increase the Rush lead to 3-1 with 8:17 remaining in the second (Misiak earned his second assist of the night on the goal). Kyle Ostrow kept the game close for his club as he sent a Collin Bowman shot behind Marotta in the back-door, making it 3-2 with 5:44 left in the middle frame (Bowman and Trent Daavettila notched the helpers).
Sean Erickson re-established the multi-goal lead for the Rush in early moments of the final period of play. With 16:53 left in the game, Erickson fired a shot from the far wall of the Eagles zone, off the bar, and in behind Saunders, putting the Rush up to a 4-2 lead (Jonathan Narbonne earned an assist, while Ryan Walters picked up his second of the game). With 61 seconds remaining in the game, Colorado made things interesting as, with the net empty and an extra-attacker on, Adrian Veideman finished a series of passes from Kyle Ostrow and Johnny Lazo to bring the home side within striking distance at a 4-3 deficit. Following the goal, Sam Marotta made some crucial saves as the Eagles re-visited the extra-man tactic, and held on to provide his club with a 4-3 win.
Marotta earned his fifth win of the season, and his second with the Rush, stopping 36 of 39 Colorado shots (5-10-2).
The Rush continue their six-game road trip and head to Boise to faceoff against the Idaho Steelheads for a pair of contests, the first of which will be played on Friday, March 18th. Puck drop at Century Link Arena is slated for 7:10 p.m. MST.
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