(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush and Idaho Steelheads combined for 202 PIM, with 156 coming in the third period as the Steelheads claimed a 6-1 win on Saturday night.
Idaho scored first once again, and utilized that momentum to jump out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Elgin Pearce notched his first of two in the frame on the power play when he jumped into the Rush zone, and from the high slot, rifled a shot by the blocker of Rush net-minder Michael Bitzer to put Idaho on top with a 1-0 lead after 12:11 of play (Kale Kessy and Kyle Schempp had the assists). Nearly two minutes later at 14:10, Pearce earned his second when Kyle Schempp, despite being tied up on the boards, found leverage on his stick to spring the puck to Pearce, who danced towards the net and finished with a backhander by Bitzer to make it 2-0 Steelheads (Schempp and Brad McClure assisted). Exactly 43 seconds later, A.J. White took a Tony Calderone pass and fired a shot that was deflected by a stick over Bitzer to extend the Steelheads advantage to 3-0 with 5:07 left in the period (Calderone and Kessy assisted). The goal prompted the substitution of Adam Carlson into the game for Bitzer, who allowed 3 goals on 8 shots in 14:53 of play. Carlson stopped both shots he saw in 5:07 of relief.
Alexander Dahl added to the Steelheads lead when the puck was turned over to him in the high-slot area. He finished with a shot past Carlson’s glove to give Idaho a 4-0 advantage with 13:23 played in the second (the goal was unassisted). Moments later, Riley Weselowski got the Rush on the board to slow the Steelheads scoring down. With 4:23 left in the second, Weselowski crept off the blue line and carried the puck towards the slot area, throwing the puck in traffic and receiving a deflection off of a Steelheads defender and past goalie Tomas Sholl to cut the deficit to 4-1 (Andrew Radjenovic and Blake Heinrich assisted, the latter earning his first assist as a pro).
The third period started off with many pleasantries exchanged between the bitter rivals, and resulted in an unfortunate display that led to 146 PIM issued to both teams. Throughout the scuffules and ejections, Idaho scored twice on the power play to end the game. Brad McClure scored in a five-minute major power play when Reid Petryk fired a pass in the slot to McClure, the latter of which finished with a one-timer to make it 5-1 with 5:56 played in the third (Petryk and Nolan Gluchowski assisted). Gluchowski finished the scoring entries on a five-on-three power play goal on a shot that rocketed off the back bar to bring the game to the final score of 6-1 with 4:04 left in the game (Petryk and McClure assisted).
Michael Bitzer suffered the loss, stopping 5 of 8 shots in 14:53 of play (3-6-0-1). Adam Carlson stopped 17 of 20 shots in 45:07 of relief.
The Rush close out their series against the Steelheads in a highly anticipated rematch on New Year’s Eve on Monday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.