(RAPID CITY, SD) – Ryan Walters scored late in the third period, but the Alaska Aces had already built a sizeable lead by then and beat the Rapid City Rush by a 5-1 score on Friday night.
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw in the first period, but the Aces struck twice in quick succession to start the second. Just 1:23 into the frame Justin Breton located a loose puck in the far faceoff circle of the Rush zone, and sent a shot over the shoulder of Rush net-minder Adin Hill to give the Aces a 1-0 lead (Garet Hunt and Ben Lake assisted). Exactly 19 seconds later, Steven Tarasuk sent a shot from the blue line through traffic by Hill to quickly double Alaska’s lead to 2-0 (Nolan Descoteaux and Peter Sivak got the assists). Continuing the theme of blue line shots was Nolan Descoteaux, who earned his second point of the game when his wrist shot got through and beat Hill to give the Aces a 3-0 lead with 1:55 left in the second period (Both Garet Hunt and Ben Lake earned their second assists on the goal).
Dax Lauwers pushed the Aces to a 4-0 lead in the third period with his first goal as a professional, doing so at 9:04 of the final period by firing a blue line shot through a sea of bodies that beat Hill (Tyler Ruegsegger and Matt Geurts assisted the goal). Ryan Walters tried to spark a comeback for his club shortly after, notching his 10th goal of the season in doing so. With 6:52 left in the game, the Rush captain crossed all three lines and went off the bar and in on a backhand shot, ending the shutout of Aces goaltender Lukas Hafner to make it a 4-1 Alaska lead (the goal was unassisted). The Aces shut the comeback down 32 seconds later when Peter Sivak launched a one-timer by Hill on a two-on-one down the ice to bring the game to its final score of 5-1 (Daniel Moynihan earned the lone assist).
Adin Hill stopped 29 of 34 shots, suffering his third loss of the season with the Rush (1-3-0).
The Rush return from the Christmas break to take on the Idaho Steelheads in a three-game set to close out 2016. Wednesday, December 28th, Friday, December 30th, and New Year’s Eve mark the next editions of the Mountain Division rivalry, with puck drop slated for 6:35 p.m. MST, 7:05 p.m. MST, and 6:05 p.m. MST, respectively.
Merry Christmas Rush Nation! Enjoy the holiday wherever you may be!