(RAPID CITY, SD) – Peter Sivak finished his second hat trick of the season against his former team with an overtime winner as part of a four-point night to give the Rapid City Rush a 4-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies on Friday night.
Peter Sivak continued his stellar success against his former club by getting the Rush on the board first to start the game. With 6:15 gone by in the first, Rush All-Star Dante Salituro carried the puck down the ice on a two-on-one rush into the Grizzlies zone. Salituro dished to Daniel Leavens, who realized Sivak was trailing behind as a third option in the play. Leavens gave way to Sivak, who blasted a rocked over new Utah goaltender Sean Maguire to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Leavens and Salituro assisted). Utah countered right back moments later on their first power play of the game when Kyle Thomas trucked towards the Rush net, pocketing his own rebound by Rush net-minder Adam Vay to knot things up at 1-1 with 8:24 gone by in the first (Ryan Walters and Austin Ortega assisted). In an awkward twist, the Grizzlies ended up with a 4-on-3 power play, and Ortega cashed in on a Taylor Richart blue line blast that he deflected over Vay’s shoulder to give Utah a 2-1 lead with 5:46 left in the first (Ryan Misiak had the lone assist).
Peter Sivak brought the Rush level in the second period with his second of the night, with both teams carrying the tie score into the final period. Sivak took a cross-ice pass in the Utah zone following the expiration of his team’s third power play of the game, and, from the right-wing faceoff circle, rifled a shot by Maguire to square the game up at 2-2 with 6:11 played in the second period (Gustav Bouramman and Ian Brady assisted).
Former Rush Captain Ryan Walters stuck the dagger in his former club within the opening minutes of the third to put Utah back in the driver’s seat. Just 1:21 into the final frame, after a faceoff win in the offensive zone, Mitch Jones fired a blue line shot that got deflected by Walters and arced over the shoulder of Vay, putting Utah on top with a 3-2 lead (Jones had the lone assist). Shy of the midway point, however, the Rush gave the Grizzlies a taste of their own medicine and got a deflection to tie things up once again. With 11:11 left in the game, Peter Sivak rotated with the puck to the Grizzlies blue line and flung the puck towards the net, which was then deflected by Jack Walker by Maguire to square the game up at 3-3 (Sivak had the lone helper). Both teams traded punches in the final minutes, including Utah on their third and final power play of the night, but 60 minutes was not enough to determine a winner, so to overtime we would go.
Adam Vay, with the save of the year, denied Erik Higby point-blank in front of his crease to keep the game tied with around three minutes remaining in free hockey. Shortly after, Peter Sivak got the Rush the second point, and triggered a shower of hats in the process. With 1:45 left in overtime, the Rush were caught in an awkward line change, that had they touched the puck, would have led to a too many men on the ice minor in Utah’s favor. No one did, but the Grizzlies took advantage of confusion in the neutral zone to break up the ice on a partial three-on-two rush. C.J. Eick led the charge for Utah, but blew out an edge trying to slam his brakes in close range of the Rush net. Weselowski recovered the loose puck and skied it to Sivak in the neutral zone, putting him on a breakaway that he finished with a backhander over an outstretched Maguire to complete his second hat trick of the season, and give the Rush a 4-3 overtime win.
Adam Vay stopped 46 of 49 shots in the contest to earn his 6th win of the season (6-8-1).
The Rush will see the Utah Grizzlies in continuation of their four consecutive matchups tomorrow on Saturday, January 20th, which is our “Rush Fights Cancer” specialty night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.