(RAPID CITY, SD) – Lindsay Sparks and Ryan Walters kept their pace up on the scoresheet, and Kent Patterson stopped 31 shots as the Rapid City Rush earned their first home-ice victory of the season over the Idaho Steelheads by a 5-3 score on Wednesday night.
For just the second time this season, the Rush opened up the scoring entries in a contest and subsequently jumped out to an early lead. At 9:58 of the first, on the first Rush power play of the game, Brenden Walker potted a rebound off of a shot from Ryan Walters, beating Steelheads goaltender Branden Komm to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Walters and Lindsay Sparks assisted, with both extending their point streaks with the helpers: Walters assist and point streaks both to five games, and Sparks assist streak to five games and point streak to nine games). Less than three minutes later, Walters found Josh MacDonald between the faceoff circles in the Idaho zone, and MacDonald blasted a one-timer by Komm, doubling the Rush lead to 2-0 with 7:38 left in the first (Walters earned his second assist of the game, while Riley Weselowski earned his first with the other).
Idaho struck back early in the second period to halve the deficit, despite being denied of any goals on a five-on-three power play that lasted around a minute. With possession coming into the neutral zone, Steelheads captain Jefferson Dahl powered toward the net and fired a shot by Rush net-minder, Kent Patterson, to bring the Steelheads to a 2-1 deficit with 3:26 played in the second (Rob Linsmayer and Travis Walsh assisted). With 46 seconds left in the period, Joe Faust tied things up when he crept off his blue line and one-timed a Kellan Lain pass by Patterson to square the game at 2-2 (Lain and Kyle Jean earned the helpers). Despite the late tying goal, Michael Young responded for the Rush 17 seconds later and pushed his club to an advantage heading into the final period. Lindsay Sparks sent a pass from the far corner of the Steelheads zone to Young, who came flying off his blue line and slammed home a one-timer to re-establish the Rush lead at 3-2 (Sparks earned his second assist of the game, while Josh MacDonald earned his second point with an assist).
Ryan Walters expanded the Rush lead back to two at the start of the third period. Just 67 seconds into frame, Riley Weselowski came off of his blue line with the puck, and while practically parallel with the goal line threw it in front of the net. Ryan Walters was there to deflect the puck by Komm, elevating the Rush to a 4-2 lead (Weselowski earned his second helper, while Nick Miglio notched his first). With 5:15 remaining in the game, however, the Steelheads made a push and came back within striking distance. After a scramble in front of Patterson’s crease in the Rush zone, the puck came free to Steelheads captain Jefferson Dahl, who sent the loose puck into a virtually open net for his second ignition of the goal lamp, bringing the score to 4-3 (Zach Bell assisted along with Rob Linsmayer, who earned his second of the game). Despite continuous offensive pressure from Idaho, the Rush wouldn’t be denied of the two points with Ryan Misiak sealing the affair with an unassisted empty-net tally to bring the game to its 5-3 final score, signifying a Rush win on home ice for the first time this season.
Kent Patterson stopped 31 of 34 shots in 60 minutes, earning his second victory of the season (2-2-1).
For the first time ever, the Rush will square off against the Eastern Conference’s Reading Royals. Puck drop for the historic pair of meetings is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. MST on both Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th, at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.