(RAPID CITY, SD) – Willie Raskob tied the game with 15 seconds left in regulation for the Kansas City Mavericks, but Pierre-Luc Mercier scored the game-winning power play goal in overtime, and coupled with the first two goals of Mason McCarty’s career, helped the Rapid City Rush get their first win of the season by a 4-3 score on Sunday.
The Mavericks struck first over the midway point of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead, but found themselves deadlocked after 20 minutes. With 6:25 left in the first, Matt Robertson found Mark Cooper streaking cross-ice in the Rush zone. Cooper danced towards the net and tucked the puck behind Rush net-minder Michael Bitzer to give Kansa City the early 1-0 lead (Robertson and Joey Sides assisted). The Rush tied things up in the last two minutes thanks to an offensive zone faceoff win, and subsequently Mason McCarty’s first goal as a professional. With 1:45 left in the first, Shaquille Merasty won a draw back to McCarty, who immediately fired a shot by a screened Nick Schneider in net for the Mavericks to square the game at 1-1 heading into the second (Merasty had the lone assist).
Just shy of the midway point of the second period, Steven Tarasuk gave the Rush their first lead of the game on a transition play with Cedric Montminy and Pierre-Luc Mercier. With 8:12 played in the second, Mercier chased the puck into the Mavericks zone and had numbers along with him. He deferred to Montminy in the high slot, who then gave the puck to Tarasuk off the blue line for a one-timer for the left circle to give the Rush a 2-1 lead (Montminy and Mercier assisted). The Mavericks tied the game again when the Rush failed to clear the zone, and after Kansas City contained on the blue line, Mark Cooper found Cliff Watson creeping in close range. Watson’s shot deflected off of Bitzer and in, squaring the game at 2-2 with 9:17 left in the period (Cooper had the lone assist). The Rush again separated from the Mavericks thanks to McCarty’s second goal of the game, which afforded the Rush a lead heading into the third period. With 4:30 to spare before the period ended, McCarty stormed out of the box following the conclusion of a Mavericks power play an immediately jumped in the play, forcing the puck up to Adam Marsh into the neutral zone. Marsh dropped back to McCarty, who cut to the slot and fired a shot by Schneider to give the Rush a 3-2 lead after two periods (Marsh had the lone assist).
The Rush held onto their lead for almost the majority of the third period, but with the extra-attacker, the Mavericks tied the game up to force overtime. With 15 seconds left in the game, Willie Raskob fired a shot from the blue line that Rocco Carzo caught a piece of, deflecting the puck by Bitzer to square the game at 3-3 (Raskob and Cooper assisted).
Pierre-Luc Mercier continued his hot stretch of hockey and helped give the Rush the win on the team’s final power play of the game in overtime. Josh Elmes drew a tripping call on goalie Nick Schneider with 1:50 left in overtime to put the Rush on the man-advantage, and with 26 seconds, later, Mercier blasted a pass from the right circle from Tarasuk to give the Rush their first win of the season, 4-3 over the Mavericks.
Michael Bitzer won his first game with the Rush, stopping 34 of 37 shots in the win (1-1-0).
The Rush conclude their home-stand with a “three-in-three” against the Allen Americans this weekend. The series starts Friday, October 26th, at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, and puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.