(WEST VALLEY CITY, UT) – The Rapid City Rush went an impressive 3/5 on the power play, including a pair of power play goals from Pavel Jenys, but the Utah Grizzlies, powered by a five-goal third period, took down the Rush with an 8-3 win on Friday night. The loss marks seven in a row for the Rush, who have yet to win a game in December.
Utah’s only power play goal came from former Rush Captain, and current Grizzlies Captain, Ryan Walters. With 3:54 gone by, Walters blasted a one-timer from the left-wing wall by Rush net-minder Adam Vay to give Utah a 1-0 lead (Ryan Olsen and Ryan Misiak assisted). Just over five minutes later, the puck was turned over to Greger Hanson on a blind backhanded pass, and Hanson found an open Mike Pelech in front of the Rush net. Pelech five-holed Vay to make it 2-0 Utah with 8:57 gone by in the first (Hanson got the lone assist). The Rush got on the board 13 seconds into their first power play of the night when Pavel Jenys tapped his own loose rebound in the crease of Utah goalie Kevin Carr by his outstretched person to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 6:29 left in the first (Riley Weselowski and Kenton Miller assisted).
Jenys hit pay-dirt for a second time within the first 15 seconds of his team’s third power play to start the second period. At the 4:34 mark of the period, Jenys settled a Peter Sivak pass and blasted a rocket by Carr to tie the game at 2-2 (Sivak and Kenton Miller assisted). Despite the strong power play showing, Utah scored less than a minute later and never looked back. Kyle Thomas started a four-goal rally in less than 11 minutes for the Grizzlies when he broke into the Rush zone all alone, faked out Vay, and tapped the puck in to put Utah ahead 3-2 with 5:14 gone by in the second (Pelech and Greger Hanson assisted). Over two minutes later, Erik Higby snuck behind the Rush defense and broke into the zone uncontested, and fired by Vay to make it a 4-2 Grizzlies lead with 7:23 played in the second (Sam Windle had the lone assist). At the 10:32 mark of the period, Zach Saar came through the neutral zone and powered towards the Rush net, squeaking the puck by Vay in close range to make it 5-2 Utah (Charley Graaskamp had the only assist). Ryan Olsen finished off the scoring rally for the Grizzlies to make it 6-2 with 3:57 left in the second period (Walters and Misiak assisted). Evan Janssen broke up the Utah rally on the team’s fourth power play of the night, burying a Dante Salituro drop pass to cut the Utah lead to 6-3, giving his team three power play goals on the evening (Salituro had the only assist). The momentum was short-lived when Greger Hanson got himself in the goal column to end the frame. With 34.6 seconds left, Pelech came in the Rush zone and faked a drop pass, instead deferring to Hanson on the backdoor. Hanson finished to give Utah a 7-3 lead after two periods (Pelech and Kyle Thomas assisted).
Ryan Misiak finished the entries in the third buried when he deflected a centering pass from Ryan Olsen in close range of Vay’s net, bringing the game to its final score of 8-3 with 6:35 left in the game (Olsen and Chris Leibinger assisted).
Adam Vay stopped 28 of 36 shots in the loss (3-7-0).
Both teams will conclude their pair of matchups tomorrow night at the Maverik Center, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.