(RAPID CITY, SD) – Josh MacDonald, Ryan Misiak, and Nathan Moon all chipped into the successful comeback bid, but the Rapid City Rush fell short in five shootout rounds to the Colorado Eagles with a 4-3 final score. This was the first of two preseason games to be played by both rivals.
Colorado opened scoring just 4:47 into the action to jump ahead of the Rush early. Following four-on-four play, Jessey Astles found a rolling puck off the near wall of the Rush zone and unwound a slapshot over the shoulder of Rush net-minder Kent Patterson, giving the Eagles a 1-0 advantage on a partial power play (Justin Bernhardt and Ryan Harrison notched the assists).
The Eagles maintained their 1-0 advantage heading into the second period, and doubled their lead within the first five minutes. At the early stages of the second period, Rush defenseman Cody Castro was ejected for charging Colorado’s Luke Salazar, and it put the Eagles on a five-minute major power play. With 4:44 gone by in the frame, Salazar sent a shot from the high slot on the ice past Patterson through traffic, to increase the Eagles lead to 2-0 (Derek Rodwell and Jake Marto earned the helpers). At the midway part of the period, Head Coach Mark DeSantis elected to switch Patterson for rookie goalie Charlie Grant, who played the rest of the game. Just after the halfway point of the game, the Rush capitalized on a scramble in front and brought themselves within one. With 8:37 left in the second, Josh MacDonald slammed a loose puck in front of the Colorado net and pushed it past Eagles goaltender Clarke Saunders, cutting the Rush deficit to 2-1 (Brayden Low and Anthony Collins assisted). The Eagles pulled ahead by two again moments later, as Jake Marto fired a slapshot by Grant from the near wall of the Rush zone to give Colorado a 3-1 lead heading into the third (Giffen Nyren and Justin Bernhardt got the assists, with Bernhardt notching his second of the night).
Ryan Misiak sparked the Rush with a power play goal of his own, and brought the Rush back in It with much of the third period left. Just 1:49 into the final period, Zach Tolkinen unloaded a shot that was deflected by Brenden Walker towards the net. Misiak was on the back door and flipped the puck by Saunders to cut Colorado’s lead to 3-2 (Tolkinen and Walker assisted). Roughly three minutes later, the Rush were on the penalty kill when Misiak found Nathan Moon with a long pass off the glass from behind his own net. Moon settled the pass, carried the puck into the zone and worked his way to the low slot, where he fired a spinning shot through Saunders’ five-hole to tie the game at 3-3 on a shorthanded tally with 15:29 left in the game (Misiak earned the lone assist, good for his second point of the night). Both teams failed to score in the remaining time, and overtime activities ensued.
Both teams also failed to record a game-winner in the extra-session, although Colorado came the closest as they earned a power play with 2:16 left in sudden-death. The Rush penalty-kill, backstopped by Charlie Grant, thwarted off the barrage, and a shootout then came to resolve the deadlock. Brenden Walker was stopped on his first round attempt for the Rush, and Casey Pierro-Zabotel countered with a good try over Grant for the Eagles to put his quad up 1-0 after one shootout round. Josh MacDonald responded with a goal of his own in the top of the second to tie things for the Rush, and was followed by Grant stopping Johnny Lazo on his attempt. Both Nathan Moon and Luke Salazar failed to score on their attempts in the third round, which prompted sudden-death shooutout rounds. Both Ryan Misiak and Jake Marto did not score in the fourth round. Evan Dixon didn’t capitalize for the Rush in the fifth and final round, but Derek Rodwell struck for the Eagles and secured his team a 4-3 win after five shootout rounds.
Kent Patterson started in net for the Rush and stopped 17 of 19 shots. Charlie Grant was the goaltender of record after he came in relief of Patterson, and stopped 17 of 18, along with 3 of 5 in the shootout (SOL).
Both teams re-match tomorrow night in the Budweiser Events Center in Colorado. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST for the final preseason game for each club.
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