(WEST VALLEY CITY, UT) – The Rapid City Rush and Utah Grizzlies completed their suspended game from Friday night this afternoon at the Maverik Center. Utah resumed play with a 3-1 lead over the Rush at the start of the 2nd period, thanks to Jon Puskar’s pair of goals from Friday night’s first 20 minutes of play. The Rush built off of the momentum from last night’s win, outscoring the Grizzlies 6-2 on Sunday to take a 7-5 win behind Peter Sivak’s hat trick.
To jog everyone’s memory, Utah struck three times in the opening period to eventually take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. Jon Puskar scored his first of two in the contest 2:55 into the action when he went on a two-on-one rush down the ice. His passing lane was blocked off by a diving Michael Sdao, but Puskar managed to bank a shot off of the shoulder of Rush net-minder Adam Vay and in, giving Utah a 1-0 lead (Taylor Richart had the lone assist). The Grizzlies lead went to 2-0 when Ryan Olsen pocketed a loose rebound in front of Vay’s crease on a scramble in front with 6:36 gone by in the first (Mitch Jones and Sam Windle assisted). Peter Sivak cut the Utah lead in half shortly after Olsen’s tally to get his team on the board. With 9:48 left in the first, Sivak took a loose puck to the short side of Kevin Carr’s net in the Utah zone. Sivak settled, and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Carr to put the Rush on the board and cut Utah’s lead to 2-1 (Kenton Miller and Pavel Jenys assisted). Puskar got the last word in the first when he deflected a Charley Graaskamp wrister from the blue line over Vay’s shoulder to give Utah a 3-1 advantage heading into the second with 5:42 left in the first (Graaskamp and Chris Leibinger assisted). The game was then suspended and postponed to Sunday due to unsafe ice conditions.
The Rush entered the continuation of the game with momentum built from Saturday night’s gutsy 2-1 win over Utah, and used the momentum to throttle the Grizzlies in the second period behind their second three-goal second period in the last three games. Tyler Deresky started the scoring entries at 7:05 of the second when he took a Grizzlies turnover on the blue line and buried it by Carr in close range to bring Utah’s lead to 3-2 (the goal was unassisted). Jack Walker and Daniel Leavens played off of their own momentum from Saturday night’s game after connecting for the game-winner late in the contest to connect for the game-tying tally in today’s game. With 4:32 left in the second, Leavens powered through a check on the near wall of the Grizzlies zone and threaded a cross-ice pass to Walker on the backdoor, who buried his shot to square the game at 3-3 (Leavens had the only assist). Just 1:21 later, Chase Lang, still technically playing in his Rush debut, took another Grizzlies turnover caused by Anthony Collins, took his pass, and ripped a wrist shot by Carr to give the Rush the lead at 4-3 with 3:11 left in the second period (Collins had the only assist).
The Rush then kept their foot on the gas pedal and ripped off two power play goals in the span of 15 seconds. The first came from Peter Sivak, his second of the game, on a five-on-three advantage. Just a dozen seconds in the two-man advantage, Sivak took a cross-ice pass through the crease from Dante Salituro and buried his rebound in close range to give the Rush a 5-3 lead with 4:49 played in the third period (Salituro and Jenys assisted). Exactly 15 seconds later, now on a standard power play, Daniel Leavens and Chase Lang exchanged the puck entering the Grizzlies zone, that finished with Leavens driving the net and pocketing his rebound by Carr to extend the Rush lead to 6-3 with their fifth unanswered goal of the contest (Lang got the only helper). The goal resulted in the substitution of Carr from the Grizzlies net, with Angus Redmond completing the last 12:03 of the game for Utah in goal. The Grizzlies were the beneficiaries of penalty calls late against the Rush, which included a five-minute major power play, stacked with a two-minute minor to give Utah a colossal advantage. Redmond was pulled from his net to create a 6-on-3 advantage, and Mike Pelech pocketed a rebound in front of Vay’s net to bring the Grizzlies to a 6-4 deficit with 3:50 left in the game (Austin Ortega and Ryan Misiak assisted). With 1:23 left in the game, Ortega replicated Pelech’s scoring play and notched one on a rebound in close range to come within striking distance at 6-5 (Pelech and Ryan Walters assisted). The Rush did not waver despite the adversity, and took advantage of the empty net to seal the deal. Peter Sivak completed his hat trick over three days with 9.7 seconds left to give the Rush a sweep of the Grizzlies, and a 2-0 start to 2018 with a 7-5 win.
Adam Vay stopped 38 of 43 shots faced for his fourth win of the season (4-7-1).
The Rush continue their six game road trip against the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday, January 10th. It’s the first game of a three-game series, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at the Budweiser Events Center.