(CINCINNATI, OH) – The Rapid City Rush trailed 4-0 with just over half of the final period remaining, until Darby Llewellyn and Riley Weselowski cut the deficit to one with 4:16 remaining in the game. Despite the surge, the Cincinnati Cyclones, led by the four-point night of Myles Powell, hung on the stave off the Rush and take a 6-3 win on Friday night.
Only one goal was scored in the first period, and it came to the Cyclones on their first power play of the game within the first few minutes of the contest. Exactly 76 seconds into the action, Myles Powell completed a tic-tac-toe passing exchange with captain Eric Knodel and Jesse Schultz in the high slot, deflecting the puck by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to make it a 1-0 Cyclones lead (Schultz and Knodel assisted).
Cincinnati doubled its lead a few minutes into the second period, despite the countless Rush chances generated in the period. With 6:17 gone by in the second period, Arvin Atwal took the puck back at the blue line and fired it through traffic with no elevation or deflection, and it slipped past Carlson to bring the Cyclones lead to 2-0 (DeVante Stephens and Pascal Aquin assist).
The offense came out hard in the third period for both squads, with Cincinnati adding a pair of goals to their lead before eventually withstanding a Rush surge late. Less than two minutes into the final period, Jesse Schultz completed a rush into the Rush zone with a one-timer off of a Powell pass, firing his shot by Carlson to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead with 1:53 gone by in the frame (Powell and Tobie Bisson assisted). Just shy of the midway mark of the third, Powell struck again on the man-advantage, scoring a five-on-three power play goal with a one-timer off of a Schultz pass to extend the lead to 4-0 with 10:52 left in the game (Schultz and Alex Wideman assisted). Over a minute later, Darby Llewellyn scored for the first time since November 9th against Fort Wayne to put the Rush on the board. With 9:43 left in the game, Justin Faryna shoveled the puck to Llewellyn, who tight-roped the Cyclones goal line and rifled a shot off the shoulder of goaltender Michael Houser and in, cutting the deficit to 4-1 (Faryna had the only assist). With 5:52 left in the game, the Rush fired back with a five-on-three power play goal of their own, this one a howitzer of a blue line shot from Rush Captain Riley Weselowski that whizzed by Houser’s glove to cut the deficit in half to 4-2 (Pierre-Luc Mercier and Josh Elmes assisted). Exactly 1:36 later, Llewellyn struck again for the Rush, crashing a loose rebound in front of Houser’s net behind the net-minder to all of a sudden bring the game to within a goal, with the Rush trailing 4-3 with 4:16 remaining in the game (Faryna and Tyler Poulsen assisted). The Cyclones staved off the comeback with an Alex Wideman empty-netter with 1:42 left in the game, and an insurance goal on a turnover that led to a Ben Johnson strike with less than a minute to go, bringing the game to its final score of 6-3.
Adam Carlson suffered the defeat, stopping 38 of 43 shots in the effort (12-13-2-2).
The Rush conclude the annual “Stock Show Road Trip” tomorrow in Fort Wayne against the Komets. Puck drop for the February 2nd game is slated for 5:30 p.m. MST at Allen County War Memorial Colliseum.