(RAPID CITY, SD) – Adam Marsh completed his team’s third period comeback with a snipe with 8:10 left in the game to eventually force “free hockey”, but Chad Butcher, making his Allen Americans debut, provided the visitors with the game-winner in the shootout as Allen defeated the Rapid City Rush with 3-2 shootout victory on Friday night.
Allen struck first in the game in the final moments of the first period on their second power play of the game, ending the Rush penalty-killing streak at 12 straight power plays dating back to October 13th. With 21 seconds and change remaining, rookie standout Braylon Shmyr cut to the high slot of the Rush zone and rifled a shot on net. The shot was deflected and zipped past Rush net-minder Michael Bitzer to put the Americans up 1-0 heading into the second (Chad Butcher and Thomas Frazee assisted).
Allen doubled their advantage in the second period on a defensive breakdown for the Rush when Frazee found Zach Pochiro unmarked and all alone in the slot area. Pochiro immediately fired a shot by Bitzer to make it a 2-0 Americans lead with 4:09 gone by in the frame (Frazee and Shmyr assisted). Both goalies proceeded to exchange game-breaking save after game-breaking save, and despite great quality chances from the Rush, Allen goalie C.J. Motte stood tall and maintained the 2-0 lead after two periods.
The Rush finally broke the dam down in the third period on a five-on-three power play and halved the deficit to begin their comeback. With 14:11 left in the game, Pierre-Luc Mercier perpetuated his assist and point streak with a pass to Andrew Radjenovic, who blasted a back-door one-timer by Motte to cut the deficit to 2-1 (Mercier had the lone assist). Adam Marsh then took advantage of a bounce in the near corner of the Americans zone off of a turnover and tied the game. With 8:10 left in the game, Marsh carried the puck to the slot and rifled a shot over Motte’s shoulder to square the game at 2-2 (the goal was unassisted). Again, both Bitzer and Motte traded saves back and forth, eventually going to overtime, where they continued their duel.
Bitzer made a miraculous glove save in overtime to keep the game going and eventually bring the affair to a shootout. Adam Marsh and Braylon Shmyr were both denied by Motte and Bitzer respectively in the first round, and Mercier was robbed in the second round by Motte. Dante Salituro stuck a dagger in his former team and rifled a shot by Bitzer in the second round, but Mason McCarty perpetuated the game one more half round when he scored on Motte, putting the game on Allen’s next shooter. Chad Butcher, in his Americans debut, got the call, and dazzled a shot by Bitzer to get Allen the second point, and the win, with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Michael Bitzer stopped 40 of 42 shots in the shootout defeat, and 1 of 3 in the shootout round (1-1-0-1).
The Rush continue their “three-in-three” against the Allen Americans tomorrow, October 27th. Puck drop at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.