(TULSA, OK) – Shaquille Merasty provided both goals for Rapid City Rush in the finale of their road trip, but it wasn’t enough to surpass the Tulsa Oilers, who received multi-point performances from four different players, took the win by a 5-2 score on Tuesday night. The game marked the first of three games this week head to head between both teams, and the final matchup at the BOK Center this season. The Rush struck first in the contest, but it was the Oilers that came out with the advantage after 20 minutes. Shaquille Merasty kept a red-hot power play smoking on the team’s first advantage of the game, deflecting a Brayden Sherbinin blue line shot past Oilers goalie Devin Williams to give the Rush a 1-0 lead at 2:48 of the contest (Sherbinin and Dylan Quaile assisted). Tulsa tied it at the midway point of the period thanks to Alex Globke, who picked up a Charlie Sampair rebound in the slot area and pocketed it behind Rush net-minder Tyler Parks, squaring the game at 1-1 with 9:59 played in the period (Sampair and Stephen Perfetto assisted). Tulsa overtook the Rush on a blast from Ian McNulty, who came storming off the Oilers bench and skated full bore into a shot that he rocketed top shelf to put the Oilers up 2-1 with 6:53 left in the first (Adam Pleskach and Perfetto assisted).
Both teams added an additional goal in the second period, meaning Tulsa maintained their lead heading into the third. Charlie Sampair separated the Oilers further with 7:18 left in the second, coming into the Rush zone one-on-one with Brayden Sherbinin. His initial shot was blocked by Sherbinin, but Sampair immediately fired his rebound past Parks from the far circle to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead (Perfetto and Eric Drapluk assisted). Shaquille Merasty notched his second on another deflection to bring the Rush within striking distance. With 2:18 remaining in the second, Riley Weselowski barely contained the puck in zone on the blue line and flung it towards the net, with Merasty getting a piece of it to shove it behind Williams, cutting the deficit to 3-2 heading into the third period (Weselowski and Alec Baer assisted),
Tulsa pulled away from the Rush in the third period, sealing their first win against the Rush head-to-head this season. Scott Henegar re-established the two-goal advantage after he took an area pass from Alex Kromm on the blue line, skated past his defender, and fired a shot with his forehand over Parks’ shoulder to make it a 4-2 Oilers lead with 6:33 played in the third period (Kromm and Drapluk assisted). With 6:26 left in the game, Tommy Mele notched the final tally of the game when Kromm took a turnover from the Rush defense and fired a pass to him on the back-door for a tap-in by Parks to bring the game to its final score of 5-2 (Kromm had the only assist).
Tyler Parks stopped 40 of 45 shots in the effort, suffering the loss (2-4-0-0).
The Rush continue their series against the Oilers this weekend back in Rapid City, marking their first home games of 2019. Puck drop for game one on Friday, January 11th is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.