(RAPID CITY, SD) – On the strength of three power play goals and the 29-save shutout by Sean Bonar, the Atlanta Gladiators defeated the Rapid City Rush by a 4-0 score on Friday night. The game, marred by protest of the officiating in the contest from the Rush bench, resulted in the ejection of Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault.
For a second game in a row, Atlanta jumped on the board first, but this time, they did so on special teams. With 2:40 left in the first, Nolan LaPorte fired a shot that rang off of the paraphernalia of Rush net-minder Tyler Parks and rolled in, giving the Gladiators a 1-0 lead.
The second period saw the Gladiators pull away from the Rush, but it didn’t come without controversy. Prior to Atlanta’s third power play of the game, Cedric Montminy split the defense of the Gladiators, but was taken down heading towards the net with no penalty on Atlanta called. After the sequence, extra-curricular activity broke out, leading Atlanta to a power play. On that power play, Rush forward Justin Faryna appeared to be interfered with no call in the neutral zone, leading Atlanta on an odd-man rush down the ice that resulted in a cross-ice one-timer from Justin MacDonald to make it 2-0 with 10:33 left in the second (Nick Bligh and Avery Peterson assisted). Due to his frustration on the sequences, Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault showcased his anger towards the officiating and was ejected from the game, which once again put the Rush back on the penalty kill. On that ensuing power play, Olivier Galipeau fired a point shot by Parks to make it a 3-0 Atlanta lead on their third power play goal of the game (Nolan LaPorte and Matt Lane assisted).
Atlanta ended the penalty-filled affair with an empty-net goal with 2:53 left in the game from Justin MacDonald, his second goal of the game, to bring the score to 4-0, giving Sean Bonar his 4th shutout on the season on 29 saves.
Tyler Parks stopped 24 of 27 shots in suffering the loss (4-8-2-0).
The Rush conclude their series against Atlanta on Saturday, February 23rd, with puck drop at Premier Home Mortgage Ice slated for 7:05 p.m. MST. The game is our annual “Marvel Super Hero Night”, featuring specialty Black Panther jerseys worn by the Rush players that will auctioned off online at a later date to be determined. The Black Panther will be in attendance all the way from the fictional country of Wakanda to take pictures with Rush fans throughout the night.