(INDEPENDENCE, MO) – The Rapid City Rush went 3/7 on the power play, a perfect 7/7 on the kill, received three-point nights from Andrew Radjenovic and Pierre-Luc Mercier, and saw 35 saves on 36 shots from Tyler Parks in net to take a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday night. The win gives the Rush a split of their weekend series against the Mavericks.
Only one goal was provided in the first period, and it belonged to the Rush by virtue of special teams. With 10:02 gone by in the contest, Riley Weselowski rifled a shot from the blue line that was deflected by Andrew Radjenovic and in past Mavericks goalie Ben Halford, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play (Weselowski and Josh Elmes assisted).
Both teams provided a goal each in the second period, but the Rush maintained their lead heading into the third. On the third Rush power play of the game, Pierre-Luc Mercier entered the Mavericks zone and, from his knees skidding towards the net, found Tyler Poulsen open in the slot. Poulsen fired it by Halford to give the Rush a 2-0 lead with 4:34 gone by in the second (Mercier and Weselowski assisted). On the fourth Rush power play, however, the Rush were caught down low too far in the Mavericks zone, and it led to an odd-man rush for Kansas City while shorthanded. With 9:47 left in the second, Mark Cooper led the Rush down the ice and deferred to Greg Betzold, who ripped a shot by Rush net-minder Tyler Parks to halve the lead to 2-1 (Cooper and Nate Widman assisted). Later in the period, the Rush found themselves shorthanded by two men for nearly two minutes, but Parks and the Rush penalty-killers came up with timely blocks and saves to keep the advantage heading into the third.
The Rush received more help from their power play, and got the game-winner in the final ten minutes. With 6:48 left in the game, following a near-tying goal shorthanded again from Kansas City’s captain Rocco Carzo, Pierre-Luc Mercier rifled a shot from the near wall that Radjenovic deflected again by Halford, putting the Rush up 3-1 (Mercier and Dylan Quaile assisted). Mercier completed the win with an empty-net tally with 75 seconds remaining to bring the game to its final score of 4-1 (Radjenovic and Chris Leibinger assisted).
Tyler Parks stopped all but one shot of the 36 he saw, picking up his second win of the season (2-3-0-0).
The Rush now travel to Oklahoma to take on the Tulsa Oilers on Tuesday night, before greeting them in Rapid City next weekend. Puck drop at the BOK Center on January 8th is slated for 6:05 p.m. MST.