(RAPID CITY, SD) – Trailing 5-0 with over half of the game remaining, the Rapid City Rush mounted and completed a five-goal comeback to force overtime for a second straight night, but Allen Americans Captain Joel Chouinard came up with the game-winner 1:49 into overtime to steal the second point away from the Rush for a second straight night, winning 6-5 on Saturday.
Allen jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first half of the game, and ran out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. Spencer Asuchak started off the scoring entries when the Rush failed to exit their own zone on the blue line. The puck was turned over to the Americans, and Braylon Shmyr found Asuchak behind a vulnerable Michael Bitzer in the Rush net to give the Americans a 1-0 lead 2:52 into the first (Shmyr earned the lone assist). David Makowski double the lead on the first Americans power play of the game with a howitzer of a shot from the high slot at 7:10 to make it a 2-0 affair (Shmyr and Asuchak assisted). Miles Liberati added to the pain with a goal 1:23 later, taking advantage of a screened Bitzer from the left faceoff circle to make it a 3-0 game in Allen’s favor at 8:33 of the first (Josh Atkinson had the lone assist). The third goal on the first six Allen shots in 8:33 prompted the removal of Bitzer from the game, and Adam Carlson made his Rush debut and came in relief to close out the rest of the contest. He stopped all 5 shots in relief heading into the second period.
Allen scored on back-to-back power plays in the second to advance their lead to 5-0 before the midway point. Shmyr added to his spectacular night when he buried a rebound off of a Carlson kick save to make it 4-0 Americans with 2:38 gone by in the third (Eric Roy and Dalton Thrower assisted). Moments later, on a practically identical play, Zach Pochiro scored on the next power play with a back door rebound to make it 5-0 Americans with 5:33 gone by in the second (Dante Salituro and Joel Chouinard assisted). Fans began to leave the arena thinking all was lost with 34:27 left in regulation.
Then the comeback began.
Alec Baer got things started less than a minute later to put the Rush on the board. With 6:17 gone by in the second, Riley Weselowski fired a shot from the blue line to start the play, stopped by traffic in front. After Garrett Klotz and Willem Nong-Lambert were denied, Baer picked up the rebound and tucked it by Allen goalie C.J. Motte for his first of the season to make it a 5-1 game (Klotz and Nong-Lambert assisted). Within the final minutes of the second, Pierre-Luc Mercier sprung Cedric Montminy up the middle of the Allen zone after he split the defenders all alone toward’s Motte’s net. Montminy stickhandled Motte into a vulnerable position and tucked it home to make it 5-2 Allen heading into the third period (Mercier picked up the only assist).
Garrett Klotz scored his first goal ever in a Rush uniform to bring the deficit to two. With 15:33 left in the game, Klotz slammed home a rebound on a shot as he came into the zone to make it a 5-3 deficit against Allen (Shaquille Merasty and Steven Tarasuk assisted). Exactly 42 seconds later, the Captain hit pay-dirt and made it a one-goal game. With 14:51 left in the game, Mercier picked up the puck from a scrum on the far wall and found Weselowski creep in from the blue line on the opposite side. He connected and the Captain went off the back bar over Motte to bring the Rush within striking distance at 5-4 (Mercier got the only assist). Andrew Radjenovic then completed the comeback with 7:19 left in the game, burying a centering pass from Adam Marsh behind the net to square the game at 5-5 (Marsh and Mason McCarty assisted). Carlson and Motte didn’t surrender any other goals, leading to overtime for a second straight night.
Joel Chouinard notched the second point for the Americans less than two minutes into overtime when Chad Butcher found him creep in on the back door. With 1:49 played in overtime, Chouinard, while falling, barely got a stick to the pass and tapped it behind Carlson to end the game and give the Americans a 6-5 overtime win.
Michael Bitzer stopped 3 of 6 shots in 8:33 of his start. Adam Carlson suffered the overtime defeat in his Rush debut, stopping 25 of 28 in 52:59 of relief (0-0-1-0).
The Rush conclude their “three-in-three” against the Allen Americans tomorrow on October 28th. Puck drop at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is slated for 3:05 p.m. MST.