(RAPID CITY, SD) – Pavel Jenys struck twice as a part of three-goal second period to give the Rapid City Rush a 3-2 lead after two periods, but the Colorado Eagles forced overtime and were the beneficiaries of a penalty call in overtime to set up Michael Joly’s four-on-three power play winner to give Colorado a 4-3 overtime win on Saturday night.
Colorado garnered the only goal of the first period, and subsequently took a 1-0 lead after the first period. With 11:30 gone by, Matt Register intercepted a Rush offensive zone pass and broke the Eagles down the ice. Eagles Captain Matt Garbowsky led the charged and found Jesse Mychan in the Rush slot, who fired a shot over the shoulder of Rush net-minder Adam Vay to give the defending champs their 1-0 lead after a period (Garbowsky and Register assisted). With 4:49 left in the period, Rush forward Jack Walker was awarded a penalty shot, uncontested against Eagles goaltender Sam Brittain. Walker was denied by two inches of hollow iron with a backhand shot off the crossbar, and couldn’t square the game up before the period expired.
For the first time since December 16th at Utah, the Rush notched three tallies in the second period to eventually take a lead into the intermission. Pavel Jenys rifled a shot from the top of the far faceoff circle in the Eagles zone, and banked it off of the post and in by Brittain to square the game at 1-1 50 seconds into the frame (Kenton Miller and Geoff Fortman assisted). Just over five minutes later, on the third Eagles power play of the night, the ECHL’s leading goal-scorer Michael Joly was at it again carrying the puck into the Rush zone. He powered towards Vay’s net, avoided his stick check, and tucked the puck by Vay to put the Eagles back on top with a 2-1 lead at 5:54 of the second (the goal was unassisted). The Rush countered with two in a row to take the lead, starting off with Pavel Jenys’ second tally of the night. In the midst of a five-on-three power play, Jenys unloaded another rocket over the shoulder of Brittain to tie the game aat 2-2 with 10:50 left in the frame (Peter Sivak and Gustav Bouramman assisted). Bouramman, fresh off of the assist on Jenys’ power play strike, took a Peter Sivak pass entering the Eagles zone. Bouramman had a wide open lane to skate down, faked a pass, then fired off of the post and in by Brittain to give the Rush a 3-2 lead with 7:55 remaining in the middle act (Sivak had the lone assist).
Jesse Mychan struck again for the Eagles and squared the game up, forcing a much-anticipated overtime session. With 9:21 left in the game, Vay came out of his net to try and catch an airborne puck. He couldn’t corral it in his glove, and Garbowsky found Mychan with a wide-open net, which he took advantage of to tie the game at 3-3 (Garbowsky earned the lone assist).
Just 22 seconds into overtime, Rush Captain Riley Weselowski was called for an inconsequential hooking minor in a tie-up next to the Rush net, giving the Eagles, the 9th-best power play in the league, their sixth and final chance of the night. On a scramble in front of Vay’s crease, Michael Joly buried a Matt Register rebound by Vay to hand the Rush their first overtime loss of the season with his second of the game on a four-on-three power play goal, giving the Eagles a 4-3 win.
Adam Vay, in his first appearance since December 15th in Utah, stopped 23 of 27 shots in 61:45 of work (3-7-1).
The Rush begin 2018 on the road for a pair of games in Utah on January 5th and 6th. Puck drop for both games at the Maverik Center are slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.