(RAPID CITY, SD) – Jimmy DeVito earned his first two professional goals as part of a three-point night, and Alex Guptill cashed in with three points of his own as the Rapid City Rush defeated the first-place defending champion Colorado Eagles by a 4-3 score on Saturday night. The third annual Crystal Cup Rivalry Series is now tied at 2 points aside through two games. Additionally, Rush Head Coach, Daniel Tetrault, earned his first win as a professional head coach.
The Rush scored early and often, and for the second time this year, started the game’s scoring entries. With just 1:47 gone by in the contest, Matt Caito kept the puck in the Rush attacking zone and fired a shot on the Eagles net. Lukas Hafner made the initial save for Colorado, but Jimmy DeVito slammed the rebound by Hafner, notching his first goal as a pro and giving the Rush a 1-0 lead (Caito and Alex Guptill assisted). Colorado tied the game up less than two minutes later, taking advantage of a Rush turnover in their zone. With 3:09 played in the game, Nolan DeJong capitalized on the turnover and found Michael Joly in front of the Rush net. Joly fired a backhander over Rush net-minder Steve Michalek to tie the game at 1-1 (DeJong earned the only assist). Less than a minute later, the Rush re-took the lead when Gustav Bouramman, down low off of his blue line in the Eagles zone, found a wide-open Dante Salituro, who buried a one-timer behind Hafner to give the Rush a 2-1 lead with 4:04 gone by in the first (Bouramman earned the only assist). Exactly 42 seconds later, Alex Guptill and Jimmy DeVito went on a two-on-one break into the Eagles zone. At the absolute last second, Guptill handed off to DeVito, who tapped the puck by Hafner to extend the Rush lead to 3-1 with 4:46 gone by in the frame (Guptill earned his second assist on the goal, while Alex Foster notched his first). That prompted the removal of Hafner from the Eagles net, giving way to Sam Brittain to finish the period minding the Eagles goal. Colorado got the last say following the goaltending substitution when Drayson Bowman took advantage of another Rush turnover in the defensive zone. Bowman took the puck on the near wall and crept in close range to the Rush net, firing a shot through traffic that squeaked by Michalek to bring the Eagles within striking distance, down 3-2 with 7:18 left in the first (the goal was unassisted).
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw in the second period, but managed to trade blows in the final frame. Alex Guptill capped off his three-point night with the final Rush tally to kick off the third period. With 15:59 left in the game, Kyle Dutra found Guptill with a lane, and Guptill slid the puck by Brittain through the five-hole, giving the Rush a 4-2 advantage (Dutra and Jimmy DeVito earned the assists). Jesse Mychan brought the Eagles back within striking distance, tapping a loose puck rebound off of a Jake Marchment shot on Michalek’s goal line with 9:01 left in the game, cutting the Rush deficit to 4-3 (Marchment got the only assist). The Rush withstood a barrage from the Eagles in the final two minutes with an extra-attacker, hanging on to win 4-3 for their first win of the season, while knocking Colorado out of the final remaining undefeated teams in the league.
Steve Michalek earned the win by stopping 19 of 22 shots on net (1-1-0).
The Rush continue a four-game home-stand with a Wednesday night matchup against the Brampton Beast, playing their former CHL adversaries for the first time since the teams joined the ECHL in 2014. Puck drop on November 1st is slated for 7:05 p.m. at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.