(RAPID CITY, SD) – Hunter Fejes notched a four-point night, Mark Cooper added three of his own, and Christian Horn notched a pair himself, but Adam Morrison earned the headline with 44 saves on 46 shots as the Rapid City Rush defeated the South Carolina Stingrays by a 5-2 score on Monday night. The win gives the Rush victories in 6 of their last 7 games.
Both teams drew level at 1-1 after one period, with South Carolina opening up the scoring entries. At the 7:55 mark of the contest, Pat Megannety hacked away at a rebound in close range of Rush net-minder, Adam Morrison, and stuffed the puck in to give the Stingrays a 1-0 lead (Scott Tanski and Pat Gaul notched the assists). Just 53 seconds later, Hunter Fejes found Christian Horn on a rush down the ice, and Horn rifled a full win-up slap shot that was initially stopped by the glove of Stingrays goaltender Adam Carlson. Horn and Fejes pursued the rebound, and Fejes centered the puck for Michael Young, who fired a shot by Carlson to tie the game up at 1-1 with 8:48 gone by in the period (Fejes and Horn earned the helpers).
Fejes added to his stellar night and gave the Rush a lead in the opening moments of the second. With 3:45 gone by in the period, Christian Horn sprung Fejes all alone on a breakaway, deking out Carlson and finishing with a backhander to put the Rush up 2-1 (Horn earned his second assist, while Mark Cooper also earned his first on the goal). Fejes and Cooper had another connection over five minutes later while the Rush were killing off South Carolina’s second power play of the game. At the 8:15 mark of the second, Fejes fired a shot from the far faceoff circle that Carlson stopped, but Cooper poked the rebound by him to vault the Rush to a 3-1 lead (Fejes earned his third point with the assist, while Alex Mikulovich also notched one on the goal). South Carolina fired back with special teams play of their own to cut their deficit to one heading into the third period. With 4:49 left in the game, the Rush killed over a minute of a five-on-three power play for the Stingrays, but as soon as it expired, Steve McParland hit pay dirt in a mad scramble in front of the Rush net and brought the Rush lead to 3-2 (Domenic Menardo and Rob Flick were credited with the assists).
The Rush re-established their two-goal lead within the first five minutes of the third and ultimately pulled away from South Carolina. Just 4:47 into the final period, Logan Nelson deflected an Anthony Mastrodicasa blue line shot by Carlson, giving the Rush a 4-2 lead (Mastrodicasa and Ryan Walters assisted). Mark Cooper added to his stellar night with an empty-net goal with 59 seconds remaining in the game on a Hunter Fejes pass, his fourth point of the night, to seal the Rush win two nights in a row by a 5-2 score.
Adam Morrison stood on his head against his former club, stopping 44 of 46 shots faced in the win (12-9-4).
The Rush now shift gears to the Idaho Steelheads for three matchups in four nights on home ice. Puck drop for Wednesday night’s first game of the set is slated for 6:35 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.