(TULSA, OK) – The Rapid City Rush and Tulsa Oilers engaged in a back-and-forth affair in the last two periods of regulation, but Pierre-Luc Mercier ended the game with his second overtime-winner of the season to give the Rush the second point and a 3-2 win over the Oilers on Thursday. The game marked the first of a “three-in-three” between the two Mountain Division rivals.
Two nights in a row, the Rush found themselves in a scoreless deadlock against their opponent after one period of play, but they didn’t need to wait until the third period this time to get the game’s first goal. With 5:51 left in the second, Shaquille Merasty split the Oilers defense, was sprung up the ice by Dylan Quaile and on a partial break. Merasty fired a shot top-shelf by Oilers goalie Devin Williams from just outside the left circle, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead (Quaile and Riley Weselowski assisted). Tulsa tied the game with 100 seconds remaining in the period, however, when a Terrance Amarosa shot was denied by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson, but the rebound came to an open Austin Poganski. Poganski, making his Oilers debut after 5 games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, tucked the rebound behind Carlson to tie the game at 1-1 heading into the third (Amarosa and Tanner Kaspick assisted).
Mason McCarty re-established the Rush lead less than a minute into the third period when he barreled through the neutral zone and into the Oilers third. With 43 seconds gone by, McCarty came towards the net with options, and slipped the puck through Williams’ legs to put the Rush up for a second time at 2-1 (the goal was unassisted). Oilers Captain Adam Pleskach, however, drew the game level again in the final quarter of the period. With 4:05 left in the game, on a similar play, Pleskach broke into the Rush zone, came to the slot on his backhand, and slipped the puck by Carlson to tie the game at 2-2, eventually forcing overtime (Jared Thomas and Scott Moldenhauer assisted). With the overtime appearance, both teams saw their point streaks extend: the Oilers to 6 games, and the Rush to 5.
Pierre-Luc Mercier gave the Rush the second point and their third win of the season when he took an Oilers turnover in the Rush zone and motored into the Oilers end. With 1:28 played in overtime, Mercier powered towards the slot and went back-hand-fore-hand, finishing top shelf over Williams for the 3-2 Rush win, their second in back-to-back games (the goal was unassisted).
Adam Carlson, making his third consecutive appearance for the Rush, stopped 38 of 40 shots, winning his second game with the team (2-0-1-0).
The Rush continue their “three-in-three” this weekend against Tulsa with game two tomorrow night, November 2nd. Puck drop for the game is slated for 6:05 p.m. MST.