(RAPID CITY, SD) – Willem Nong-Lambert and Chris Leibinger notched their first goals of the season late in regulation, but the Fort Wayne Komets left the series with the Rapid City Rush with a 6-2 win on Saturday night, the Rush organization’s annual “Military Appreciation Night”.
Fort Wayne provided the lone goal in the opening period and carried a 1-0 lead into the dressing room. With 6:26 gone by, a Rush offensive zone opportunity was turned aside by Komets goaltender Lukas Hafner, and broke Shawn Szydlowski and J.C. Campagna on a two-on-one break up the ice. Szydlowski deferred to Campagna, who pocketed the puck behind Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to give the Komets their 1-0 lead after one frame (Szydlowski had the lone assist).
The Komets extended their lead to 3-0 in the second period with goals 37 seconds apart, and carried the advantage into the final period. With 14:35 gone by, the Komets came back down the ice on another odd-man rush, and Justin Hodgman finished with a hack by Adam Carlson to give the Komets a 2-0 lead (Szydlowski and Jake Kamrass assisted). Over a half a minute later, J.C. Campagna was the beneficiary of a sequence of bounces through traffic in front of the Rush net, which resulted in the puck squeaking by Carlson to push the Fort Wayne lead to 3-0 after two (Szydlowski and Hodgman assisted).
Before the Komets special teams put the game away, they received a goal from Chris Rygus, the first of his career, in the early stages of the third period. With 3:55 gone by, Rygus fired a shot through a screen from the far wall of the Rush zone to extend the advanytage to 4-0 Fort Wayne (Ryan Lowney had the lone assist). Moments later, back-to-back penalties put the Komets on a five-on-three power play, leading Cody Sol to get his first of the season on a rocket of a one-timer, making it a 5-0 Komets advantage (Szydlowski and Hodgman assisted). Exactly 1:39 later, on the back-end of the power play time, Jake Kamrass buried a centering pass from behind the net and ended the Komets scoring entries with a 6-0 lead with 7:58 played in the third (Justin Hodgman and Ryan Lowney assisted). Rush struck twice before the buzzer to avoid the shutout loss, and received their offense from two gentlemen recording their first goals of the year. With 5:07 left in the game, Willem Nong-Lambert slammed a rebound behind Hafner on the back door to cut the deficit to 6-1 (Tyler Poulsen and Pierre-Luc Mercier assisted). Chris Leibinger also notched his first of the season and with the Rush to bring the scoring entries to a close, firing a shot from the blue line that was deflected by a Fort Wayne stick by Hafner with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, bringing the final tally to 6-2 in favor of the Komets.
Adam Carlson suffered the loss, stopping 26 of 32 in the effort (3-2-1-0).
The Rush now begin a stretch of six consecutive matchups against the Idaho Steelheads, with the first three games coming next week at CenturyLink Arena. Puck drop for game one is slated for 7:10 p.m. MST on Wednesday, November 14th.