(TOLEDO, OH) – Cedric Montminy provided the game winner in the top of the sixth round of the shootout to help the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 post regulation win over the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night. The game marks the first time since the 2016/17 ECHL season that both teams have met eachother, and also marks the first win for the Rush head-to-head against the Walleye.
Toledo struck first in the opening period, and carried the lead into the locker room break. Just 6:51 into the contest, following an offensive zone face off loss for the Rush, Toledo transitioned into the Rush zone, where Bryan Moore set up on the near side of the zone. Former NHLer T.J.Hensick came streaking through the middle of the Rush zone and took Moore’s pass, deked around Rush net-minder Adam Carlson, and tucked it home to give the Walleye a 1-0 lead after 20 (Moore and Trevor Hamilton assisted).
The Rush fought back in the second with a goal of their own, bringing a level game into the final period. Alec Baer drew the game level on a fantastic pass from Chris Leibinger, who charged towards the net, and deferred to Baer at the last second after sucking his defenseman to his position. At 6:07 of the second, Baer rifled the shot by an exposed Pat Nagle in Toledo’s net to draw the game level at 1-1 (Leibinger and Dylan Quaile assisted).
The Rush jumped on the Walleye early in the third period, and briefly held the lead before Toledo tied things again. Exactly 1:06 into the third period, Michael Turner beat his defenseman and powered towards the net, firing a shot that was initially stopped by Nagle. Justin Faryna picked up the rebound and pocketed it by Nagle to give the Rush a 2-1 lead for his second goal of the season (Turner had the lone assist). Under three minutes later, Toledo’s Tyler Spezia used the same tactic to tie the game, burying a Marcus Crawford rebound by Carlson to level the game at 2-2 with 3:58 played in the final period (Crawford had the lone assist). Late in the final seconds, Toledo had an offensive surge, but just hit the post, and the game would go to overtime.
In overtime, both teams traded chances, but the best one came at the buzzer of overtime, when Tyler Spezia’s shot was too late and waved off, forcing a shootout. A.J. Jenks provided the Walleye with their only goal in the bottom of the first round, but the Rush needed a goal in the top of the third round to keep it going, which they got from Justin Faryna in his first shootout attempt of the season. Both teams traded misses and stops in the fourth and fifth rounds, teeing up the decisive sixth and final round. Cedric Montminy put the Rush ahead for good in the top of the sixth round, and coupled with Carlson’s incredible save on Greg Wolfe, ended the game with a 3-2 win for the Rush.
Adam Carlson stopped 42 of 44 shots in 65 minutes of play, and went 5/6 in the shootout (12-11-2-2).
The Rush continue the annual “Stock Show Road Trip”, playing their third game of six in their second of five different cities across nine days. Game three in Toledo against the Walleye on January 27th, the finale of the pair of meetings, comes with puck drop at the Huntington Center slated for 3:15 p.m. MST.