(KALAMAZOO, MI) – Willem Nong-Lambert and Cedric Montminy helped power the Rapid City Rush to a level score through 60 minutes, but an unfortunate sequence with 23.9 seconds left in overtime gave the Kalamazoo Wings the second point and a 3-2 win on Friday night. The game marked just the second time in team history that both clubs have squared off head-to-head.
Kalamazoo provided the only goal of the first period, and subsequently took the lead into the locker room break. Kyle Thomas started things off at 2:31 of the period when he rifled a pass from Chad McDonald from behind the net in the slot area, beating Rush net-minder Tyler Parks to give the Wings a 1-0 lead (McDonald and Kyle Blaney assisted).
Both teams traded blows in the second period, but ended up coming out all square heading into the third period. Willem Nong-Lambert drew the game level at 7:56 of the first period, when on a turnover through the neutral zone, he finished a play set up by Pierre-Luc Mercier, deflecting the puck through the legs of Wings goalie Jake Hildebrand, bringing the game to a 1-1 score (Mercier had the lone assist). Kalamazoo retook the lead with 4:07 left in the second period when Ty Ganly came off the blue line down “Main Street”, and buried a Reid Gardiner pass by Parks to re-establish the Wings advantage at 2-1 (Gardiner and Eric Kattelus assisted). Exactly 63 seconds later, however, Cedric Montminy dazzled by Hildebrand into the Wings zone down the wall, deked him out, and tucked it in to square the game at 2-2 with 3:04 left in the second (Riley Weselowski and Mercier assisted). Both teams couldn’t solve each other in the final 20 minutes, despite quality chances, and extended the game to overtime.
With 23.9 seconds left, Kalamazoo took the second point and the win on a breakdown in the Rush zone. Michael Turner carried the puck in front of the Rush net, and in an attempt to get away from oncoming pressure, took a stick check from Eric Kattelus that forced the puck behind Parks to give the Wings a 3-2 win.
Tyler Parks stopped 37 of 40 shots on goal in suffering the overtime loss, his first of the season (2-5-1-0).
The Rush continue the annual “Stock Show Road Trip”, playing their second and third games of six in their second of five different cities across nine days. Game two comes in Toledo against the Walleye on January 26th, with puck drop at the Huntington Center slated for 5:15 p.m. MST.