(WINDSOR, CO) – Terrence Wallin gave the Rapid City Rush a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, but it was Jake Marto’s third period power play goal gave the Colorado Eagles the last say, and an eventual 3-2 win over the Rush on Wednesday night.
Both teams, meeting for the first time in over two months, skated to a scoreless draw in the first 20 minutes of play, but Colorado began the scoring entries in the middle period. With 10:47 gone by, Luke Salazar completed a tic-tac-toe three-on-two passing play in the Rush zone, finishing a Johnny Lazo centering feed over the glove of Rush net-minder, Adam Morrison, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead (Lazo and Casey Pierro-Zabotel assisted). The Rush fired back twice within the last five minutes of the period, getting a boost from their power play. With 4:55 left in the period, Hunter Fejes slammed a loose puck in a traffic jam in front of Kent Simpson’s net, and squeaked it by the Colorado goaltender to square the game at 1-1 (Mike Monfredo and Mark Cooper notched the assists). With 1:18 left in the period, the Rush found themselves in another offensive zone flurry, and found the puck bouncing around the high slot, which then found itself on Terrence Wallin’s stick. Wallin hacked the puck and bounced it by Simpson to give the Rush a 2-1 lead heading into the third period (Ryan Walters and Geoff Fortman assisted, with the latter earning his first professional point in his professional debut).
Colorado answered in the third period twice, and eventually overtook the Rush to seal the win. With 9:59 left in the game, Johnny Lazo deflected a Luke Salazar shot by Morrison to square the game at 2-2 (Salazar earned his second point with the assist, while Casey Pierro-Zabotel earned his second helper as well). With 8:04 left in the game, a debatable holding penalty called on Riley Weselowski put Colorado on the power play, and it made the difference for the home side. With 7:24 left in the game, Jake Marto blasted a one-timer from the far wall of the Rush zone that beat Morrison up high to give Colorado a 3-2 lead (Luke Salazar and Casey Pierro-Zabotel notched the assists, with the latter earning his third assist of the night). Morrison shot to the bench in the waning moments of the game, but with the extra-attacker advantage, the Rush couldn’t muster the game-tying goal, and the Eagles won the game and the second-ever Crystal Cup with a 3-2 victory.
Adam Morrison was sensational for the Rush once again, but suffered the loss despite stopping 27 of 30 shots (14-15-4).
The Rush now head to Anchorage, Alaska for the final time, taking on the Alaska Aces in a three-game set starting Friday. Puck drop is slated for 9:15 p.m. MST at Sullivan Arena.