(BOISE, ID) – Christian Horn, Mark Cooper, and Triston Grant led a furious rally late in the game for the Rapid City Rush, who unfortunately fell short to the Idaho Steelheads by a 5-3 score on Saturday night. The game marked the conclusion of their head-to-head season series.
The Steelheads started the scoring entries for a third consecutive game, and earned the only tally through one period of play. With Just 1:12 gone by, Andre Bouvette-Morrissette took a centering feed from Joe Basaraba behind the net, and Bouvette-Morrissette slid the puck by Rush net-minder, Austin Lotz, to give Idaho a 1-0 lead (Basaraba had the lone assist).
Rob Linsmayer scored twice in 35 seconds in the second period to give Idaho a 3-0 lead. Linsmayer’s first came off of a turnover on the offensive zone blue line, and he streaked down the ice on a breakaway. Linsmayer finished his wrist shot over Lotz’ glove to give Idaho a 2-0 advantage with 6:19 gone by in the frame (the goal was unassisted). He notched his second with 6:54 gone by when he slammed a Corbin Baldwin rebound by Lotz to make it 3-0 shortly after (Baldwin and Charlie Dodero earned the helpers). At the midway point of the period, controversy struck as the Steelheads took a 4-0 lead. Idaho at one point had seven men on the ice as the puck came into the Rush zone, but a minor for “too many men on the ice” was not called by any official. The puck was eventually worked to Steelheads captain Jefferson Dahl, who finished a Rob Linsmayer feed by Lotz to give Idaho the 4-0 advantage with 9:07 left in the second (Linsmayer and Joe Basaraba notched the assists). Despite the adversity, Christian Horn sparked a Rush comeback with 32.1 seconds left in the period. Triston Grant fired a shot from the near wall that was stopped by Steelheads goaltender, Branden Komm, and Horn rifled the rebound over Komm’s shoulder from the short-side to get the Rush on the board heading into the third, trailing 4-1 (Grant and Vinny Muto assisted, with the latter earning his first professional point).
The Rush struck again in the opening moments of the final period thanks to a loose puck in front of the Steelheads net. With 1:27 gone by in the third, Mark Cooper located a rebound through a traffic jam and stuffed it by Komm to bring the Rush within two, down 4-2 (Ryan Walters and Anthony Mastrodicasa earned the helpers). The Rush weren’t done, and Triston Grant would be the one to bring the team within striking distance. With 3:22 left in the game, Grant deflected a Mike Monfredo shot from the blue line that went off the bar and in behind Komm, cutting the Steelheads lead to 4-3 (Monfredo and Mastrodicasa assisted, the latter’s second of the game). Lotz was pulled from the Rush net within the final two minutes of the game for an extra-attacker advantage, but Jefferson Dahl was the beneficiary of a bounce on the Steelheads blue line and sealed the win for Idaho with an empty-netter with 15.1 seconds left in the game, giving Idaho the 5-3 win.
Austin Lotz stopped 41 of 45 shots faced in the defeat (3-7-2).
The Rush road trip continues next Wednesday against the archrival Colorado Eagles. Puck drop at the Budweiser Events Center is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.