(WINDSOR, CO) – The Rapid City Rush had four different goal-scorers, two of which cashed in on the power play, but the Colorado Eagles defended their home-ice for the first time this season and stifled the Rush on Saturday night at the Budweiser Events Center, taking a 6-4 win over their arch rivals.
Two nights in a row it was Colorado that opened the scoring entries on the stat sheet. With 11:24 played in the game, Matt Garbowsky plowed through a traffic jam in the neutral zone and found a lane towards the Rush net. He beat Rush net-minder Kent Patterson with a wrist shot to put the home side up 1-0 (the goal was unassisted). Moments later, a collision occurred in front of the Rush bench, and everyone on the ice participated in the scrum, with a few extra Eagles bodies joining in as well. Somehow, the Eagles came out of the fray with their second power play, and doubled their advantage in the two minute span. With merely seconds left on the power play, Michael Sdao found a patch of ice and walked towards the Rush net, deked, and pushed the puck past Patterson to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead with 5:10 left in the frame (Luke Salazar and Conor O’Donnell assisted).
The Rush came firing back in the second period, and within a span of 1:24 evened the score up. For a second straight game, Hunter Fejes started the scoring entries for the Rush, knocking a rebound off of a Riley Weselowski shot by Eagles goaltender Nathan Lieuwen to half the deficit to 2-1 with 10:26 gone by in the second (Weselowski and Lindsay Sparks garnered the helpers). Fejes’ tally was followed by Brett Perlini’s first goal in a Rush uniform during the first Rush power play of the game. Following Darryl Bootland’s spearing penalty, Perlini parked himself in front of the Colorado net and sent a rebound in front of Lieuwen by him to tie the game at 2-2 with 8:10 left in the second (Ryan Misiak and Garrett Haar earned the assists). Shortly after, the Rush would go back on the power play, but the Eagles jumped ahead on a shorthanded goal. With 5:36 left in the period, Johnny Lazo deflected a Teigan Zahn point shot by Kent Patterson to push the Eagles to a 3-2 lead (Zahn and Casey Pierro-Zabotel assisted). Despite the shorthanded strike, the Rush followed up on the same power play with an answer of their own, as Lindsay Sparks notched his second point when he stuffed the puck by Lieuwen to even things at 3-3 with 4:41 left in the second (Ryan Walters and Michael Young notched the assists).
All square at 3-3 heading into the third, the last twenty minutes proved enough to decide a winner in what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair. Brenden Walker gave the Rush their first lead of the 2016-17 season when Ryan Walters sprung him on a break against Lieuwen. Walker fired a rocket by the Eagles backstopper and gave the Rush a 4-3 lead with 8:05 left in the game (Walters got the lone assist, his second of the game). Despite the jolt from Walker, the Eagles answered 12 seconds later and didn’t look back. Matt Garbowsky notched his second goal of the night when Jesse Mychan connected with him while he was streaking through the neutral zone. One-on-one with Patterson, Garbowsky sent a wrister by him to square the game up at 4-4 with 7:53 left in the game (Mychan and Cole Sanford assisted). With 5:06 left in regularion, Darryl Bootland hit Rush rookie Hunter Fejes in a dangerous position, yet was not called for boarding on the sequence, and subsequently moved to the front of the net and deflected a Matt Register shot from the blue line to give the Eagles the lead at 5-4 (Register and Casey Pierro-Zabotel assisted, with the latter earning his second of the game). Cole Sanford scored a power play goal late in the game with 1:42 to play to seal the win for the Eagles at 6-4 (Bootland and Sean Zimmerman assisted, with Bootland earning his second point with the assist).
Kent Patterson stopped 30 of 36 shots in his Rush debut, suffering the loss (0-1-0).
The Rush return home for the arrival of Super-Fan Cameron Hughes and Affiliation night this weekend when the Quad City Mallards come to Rapid City. Puck drop for both games on Friday and Saturday, October 21st and 22nd, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.
Other Rush News:
Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game! Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this summer through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.