(RAPID CITY, SD) – Will Merchant scored what would be the eventual game-winner on the power play at the midway point of the second period to break a scoreless deadlock, but it was Philippe Desrosiers who stole the show with his 21-save shutout, powering the Idaho Steelheads to a 3-0 win over the Rapid City Rush in the rubber match of their three-game set on Saturday night.
Both teams skated to a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes of play, with Christian Frey maintaining his momentum from Friday for the Rush, while Philippe Desrosiers made some spectacular saves to keep it scoreless. Eventually, the Steelheads would break the deadlock on special teams towards the middle of the second and never looked back. Just 5 seconds into their second power play of the night, and with 8:16 gone by in the second, Jefferson Dahl won a faceoff to Joe Faust, who fired a rocket off the facemask of Frey. The rebound came to Will Merchant, who pocketed the loose change to give Idaho a 1-0 lead (Faust and Dahl assisted). Max French scored his fourth goal of the series to make it 2-0 after the Rush committed an egregious turnover to Jefferson Dahl. Dahl fired a shot that was originally stopped by Frey, but French batted the rebound behind him to double the advantage with 5:23 left in the second (Dahl had the only assist).
The Rush had a chance late to cut into the deficit on the power play and an extra-attacker from pulling Frey from his net, but Steve McParland shoveled the puck into an open goal for an empty-net shorthanded tally to make it 3-0 with less than two minutes to go in the game (Brady Brassart had the lone assist).
The Steelheads advantage in the final 40 minutes of play was the result of capitalizing on special teams and out-shooting the Rush by a 29-11 margin. Desrosiers had some help from a few posts as well, but stood tall for the Steelheads and eventually earned his fifth career shutout, and his third against the Rush in Rapid City.
Christian Frey suffered the loss, stopping 36 of 38 shots on net (3-10-2).
The Rush now start a three-game road trip in Kansas City, taking on the Mavericks for the final time this season. Puck drop on Tuesday, February 27th, is slated for 6:05 p.m. MST.