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READING TOPS RUSH IN FIRST MEETING

Friday, November 4th
READING TOPS RUSH IN FIRST MEETING

Hunter Fejes gave the Rapid City Rush a chance in the second period, but it was the Reading Royals that came out on top in the first-ever meeting between the two teams, as they defeated the Rush 6-3 on Friday night.

It was a high-flying first period in the first ever matchup between Reading and Rapid City with minimal stoppages, but in the opening frame it was the former got the first word. After Olivier Labelle missed a penalty shot against the Rush, Florian Iberer fired a blue-line shot that deflected off of traffic in front and by Rush net-minder Kent Patterson to put Reading up 1-0 7:51 into the game (Kevin Sundher and Justin Crandall assisted). Despite an early offensive barrage, the Rush battled back and tied it with 22.8 seconds left thanks to the first professional goal of Nick Walters. Michael Young and Ryan Walters both had shot attempts blocked, but Walters flew off the blue line and unloaded into the rebound, sending his first career goal by Reading goalie Martin Ouelette to tie the game at 1-1 heading into the second.

Mike Pelech put the Royals back on top within the first minute of the second period. Just 51 seconds in, Pelech banked the puck off of a Rush defender in front and behind Patterson to push the Royals to a 2-1 lead (Steven Swavely assisted). Moments later, Kevin Sundher took an Olivier Labelle pass and extended Reading’s lead to 3-1 with 11:25 left in the second (Labelle and Todd Perry got the assists). Nick Luukko made it 4-1 when, after serving a minor penalty, he came out of the box and was sprung on a breakaway from Mike Pereira to make it 4-1 with 8:38 left in the period (Pereira earned the lone assist). The Rush fired back with a pair in the latter stages of the period, starting with 5:42 left in the period. On their fourth power play of the game, Nathan Moon slammed home a series off passes to cut Reading’s lead to 4-2 (Hunter Fejes and Ryan Walters assisted, and the latter earned his second of the game). Fejes brought the Rush within striking distance with 25.4 seconds left in the frame. Powering into the Reading zone after he received a Brayden Low pass, Fejes sent a near-wall wrist shot off of Ouelette’s glove and in, bringing the Rush deficit to 4-3 (Low and Moon assisted, with Moon notching his second point).

Reading pulled away in the third when Olivier Labelle stuffed a loose rebound in front of the Rush net to re-establish their 2-goal lead at 5-3 in the first 2:27 of the third (Todd Perry and Chris McCarthy assisted). With a late power play and the net empty for an extra-attacker, the Rush were unable to chisel and their disadvantage, and Steve Swavely scored in the empty 4’x6’ from his own zone with 1:10 left in the game to seal the win for Reading at 6-3 (Derik Johnson earned the helper).

Kent Patterson suffered his third loss of the season, stopping 29 of 34 shots in the defeat (2-3-1).

Both teams rematch tomorrow night at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.

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