(RAPID CITY, SD) – Garrett Klotz tied the game with 2:42 remaining in regulation to force overtime and a shootout for a second game this week, but this time, the Utah Grizzlies earned the second point in three shootout rounds, defeating the Rapid City Rush by a 4-3 score on Friday night. The shootout loss gives the Rush a crucial point in the standings, and the team has now laid claim to 3 of a possible 4 points in this series against the best team in the Western Conference.
Utah scored first for a second straight game in the week’s series, but this time left the first 20 minutes with just one-goal lead. With 9:54 left in the period, Jack Walker sprung Tim McGauley on a partial break through all three zones, and it ended with McGauley unwinding on a slap shot that he zipped by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to give Utah their 1-0 lead (Walker and Nolan De Jong assisted).
The Rush countered almost immediately in the second period to build a brief lead, but Utah still controlled the scoreboard heading into the final period. Starting off the second period entries was Tyler Poulsen, who scored his third goal in the last two games against the Grizzlies when he took advantage of chaos surrounding the Utah net. With 2:35 played into the period, Poulsen, while spinning down to the ice, slipped the puck past Grizzlies goalie Kevin Carr to square the game at 1-1 (Brandon Mashinter and Andrew Radjenovic assisted). Over three minutes later, Shaquille Merasty utilized his long reach and tucked the puck by Carr from behind the goal line in close range to put the Rush up 2-1 with 5:49 gone by in the frame (the goal was unassisted). Utah countered less than two minutes later on their second power play of the game when Cole Ully buried a rebound off of a Carlson kick save to re-draw the game level at 2-2 with 7:19 gone by (Caleb Herbert had the lone assist). Matt Berry provided the go-ahead goal with 8:25 remaining in the second with a shot off of a Ully pass from between the faceoff circles that gave the Grizzlies a 3-2 lead heading into the final period (Ully and Jake Marchment assisted).
The Rush needed just a goal to tie the game and force “free hockey” for a second game this week, and got exactly that with less than three minutes remaining in the contest. With 2:42 left in regulation, Pierre-Luc Mercier won an offensive zone draw, and Josh Elmes found Cedric Montminy on the far wall of the zone. Montminy fired it into traffic in front, and Garrett Klotz picked up the rebound and tucked it by Carr to square the game at 3-3 (Montminy and Elmes assisted).
The Rush and Grizzlies headed to overtime for a second straight game, but this came with more drama than Wednesday night’s counterpart. Rapid City’s Tyler Poulsen was called for a questionable tripping minor 58 seconds into overtime, putting Utah on a 4-on-3 power play for the first half of the session. Adam Carlson stood tall in net, including stoning the ECHL’s leading scorer, Caleb Herbert, point blank in front of net, and with his goaltending and the team’s resolve, the Rush killed the penalty. Both teams then headed to their second shootout of the week.
Only one goal was necessary in the shootout once again, and it was provided by Tim McGauley in the top of the first round with a fake around Adam Carlson. Utah finished with Ryan Walters (save by Carlson), and Herbert (miss). The Rush sent out Michael Turner in the first (miss), Riley Weselowski in the second (save by Carr), and Quintin Lisoway to keep the game going (save by Carr). Utah sealed the win, 4-3.
Adam Carlson stopped 44 of 47 shots on goal, and two of three shooters in the shootout, suffering his first shootout loss of the year (6-3-2-1).
The Rush and Grizzlies will rematch for the finale, game three of their three game series on Saturday, December 1st, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Tomorrow’s game is our annual “Guns n’ Hoses” Night, presented by the Dave Davis Agency, with special jerseys to be worn by the Rush honoring our local first responders. Additionally, it’s our 11th Annual “Teddy Bear Toss”, where fans throw new teddy bears onto the ice when the Rush score their first goal of the game. All bears will be donated to Youth and Family Services.