(RAPID CITY, SD) – Geoff Fortman broke a 2-2 deadlock with 2:34 left in the game with his second goal of the night, and Ryan Walters sealed the game with a tally of his own just 7 seconds later to give the Rapid City Rush a 4-2 win over the archrival Colorado Eagles on Friday night.
Colorado scored first in the contest within the final five minutes of the opening frame, and it stood as the only tally through 20 minutes. With 4:52 left in the first, Colorado came down the ice in transition, leading to a Darryl Bootland shot on goal. Bootland drew a penalty on the play, and his attempt rolled to the Rush net and kicked out to the slot, where Matt Brown fired the loose puck by Rush net-minder Adam Morrison to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead after one (the goal was unassisted).
The Rush fired back in the opening moments of the second period, and eventually overtook the Eagles heading into the third. With 3:31 gone by in the period, Terrence Wallin carried the puck in the Eagles zone and found a trailer in Mike Monfredo. Monfredo immediately rifled the puck to the stick of Ryan Misiak in front of the net, and the puck deflected off of Misiak’s stick and over the shoulder of Colorado goaltender, Lukas Hafner, to tie the game up at 1-1 (Monfredo and Wallin garnered the assists). Geoff Fortman gave the Rush the lead with his first of eventually two tallies on the second Rush power play of the game. With 3:03 left in the second, Vinny Muto passed cross-ice to Fortman on the near wall of the Rush attacking zone, and Fortman fired a laser through a screen labeled for the top-corner over Hafner to give the Rush a 2-1 lead (Muto and T.J. Sarcona assisted).
Matt Garbowsky, recently named to the All-ECHL 1st Team, brought the Eagles back to life when he tied the game up in the third. With 10:27 left in the game, Garbowsky took a drop pass from Ryan Harrison over the Rush blue line and fired off the bar and in by Morrison to square the game at 2-2 (Harrison earned the lone assist). Eventually, rapid-fire offense would lift the Rush to a big win over their archrivals. With 2:34 left in the game, Triston Grant fired a slapshot from the near wall of the Rush zone that was initially stopped by Hafner. The rebound kicked to Geoff Fortman, who streaked to the net and backhanded the rebound in to give the Rush their final lead of the game at 3-2 (Grant earned the lone assist). Exactly 7 seconds later, Ryan Walters rushed into the Eagles zone, took a loose puck, split the defense, and rifled a wrister by the blocker of Hafner to quickly put the Rush up 4-2 (the goal was unassisted). Hafner was pulled from the Eagles net for an extra-attacker, but they couldn’t muster the two goals required to perpetuate the game, allowing the Rush to skate away with a 4-2 win.
Adam Morrison stopped 36 shots on 38 faced in his 16th win of the season, a new career-high for the fifth-year net-minder (16-16-4).
The Rush conclude the season with one final showdown against Colorado tomorrow night, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.