(RAPID CITY, SD) – Ralph Cuddemi forced overtime for the Utah Grizzlies with a late hat-trick with 15.7 seconds left in regulation, but Terrence Wallin secured the second point for the Rapid City Rush as his second goal of the game came 59 seconds into overtime, powering the Rush to a 5-4 win.
The Rush jumped on the board first and tallied the lone goal of the opening period. With 8:40 gone by in the contest, Evan Stoflet of Utah turned the puck over to Anthony Collins, who skated down the middle slot of the Grizzlies zone and beat Utah goaltender Troy Redmann with a wrist shot by the blocker to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (the goal was unassisted).
Utah squared the game up in the early moments of the second period when Colin Martin slammed home a loose puck by Rush net-minder Marek Langhamer on a scramble in front of the Rush net with 5:30 gone by to even things at 1-1 (Jon Puskar and Taylor Richart assisted). The Rush jumped ahead with two goals less than three minutes apart on special teams to move forward by two. Terrence Wallin started things on the second Rush power play of the game, when he sent a Ryan Walters rebound under Redmann’s blocker to give the Rush a 2-1 lead with 7:58 gone by in the second (Walters garnered the lone assist). Mark Cooper expanded the lead to 3-1 less than three minutes later while Utah was on their second power play of the night. Ryan Misiak led a 2-on-1 break down the ice, and Misiak hit Cooper on the tape for his fifth point in the last 3 games (Misiak earned the only helper). Ralph Cuddemi of Utah, who has been a thorn in the side of the Rush, notched his first goal of the contest when he zipped a shot by Langhamer through a screen to bring Utah within striking distance at 3-2 with 6:57 left in the second (the goal was unassisted).
The game didn’t get interesting until the final 75 seconds when both teams combined for three goals. Logan Nelson, who was robbed of a goal earlier by the crossbar, hit pay dirt on a 2-on-1 when his pass for Mark Cooper, who was streaking towards the net, deflected back to his blade for a shot by Redmann to give the Rush a 4-2 lead with 1:15 left in the game (the goal was unassisted). Utah called a timeout with 35.5 seconds left, and Ralph Cuddemi powered the Grizzlies to an eventual overtime appearance. After the timeout, with 31.3 seconds left, Cuddemi slammed a back door rebound off of an Erik Bradford shot to bring the Grizzlies within one at 4-3 (Bradford and Mike Pelech assisted). He finished his heroics with 15.7 seconds left in the game, when he completed his hat trick on a mad scramble in front of the Rush net, deadlocking the game at 4-4, and forcing overtime (Bradford and Pelech assisted once again).
The Rush, for the first time this season, got the second point in overtime, thanks to the second goal of Terrence Wallin on the night. Just 59 seconds into overtime, Wallin followed a Justin Hache dump-in and battled Phil Pietroniro in the near corner of the Utah zone. Wallin came out with the puck and dunked it by Redmann point blank to win the game for the Rush with a 5-4 final score (the goal was unassisted).
Marek Langhamer kept his record perfect with the Rush, stopping 36 of 40 shots for his second win in as many games (3-0-0).
The final matchup against Utah in this string of five straight is set for tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.