(BOISE, ID) – Cedric Montminy, Justin Faryna, and Garrett Klotz headlined the contest with multi-point outings, and in addition to Dexter Dancs’ first professional goal and Adam Carlson’s 45 saves, powered the Rapid City Rush to a 5-3 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday night. With a Kansas City regulation loss to Cincinnati, the Rush now trail the Mavericks by 5 points for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division with four games remaining.
For the first time this series, the Rush scored first, and got the goal in one of the rarest moments ever in hockey. On a mad scramble in front of the Rush net, the defense cleared the puck into the Steelheads zone, sprining Dexter Dancs on a breakaway. Dancs was slashed with a clear path to the net, and awarded a penalty shot. Dancs beat Idaho goalie Tomas Sholl on the penalty shot, scoring his first goal as a professional in the process, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead with 11:56 gone by in the contest. Idaho squared the game up moments later when Will Merchant took advantage of a bad Rush defensive zone turnover, picking up A.J. White’s rebound and slamming it by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:58 left in the first period (White had the lone assist). Brandon Fehd re-established the Rush lead in the final minute of the first period when what seemed to be an innocuous blue line shot was deflected by an Idaho defender and past Sholl, putting the Rush on top 2-1 with 51.5 seconds left in the first (Garrett Klotz and Zach Fischer assisted).
Cedric Montminy started off his multi-point night with the only goal of the second period, giving the Rush a two-goal cushion heading into the third. With 5:22 left in the second, Justin Faryna forced a neutral zone turnover and went in the Steelheads zone with Montminy in tow. Montminy banked it to Faryna on the far side, who followed up with a half-swing slapshot that was stopped by Sholl. Montminy charged the rebound and pocketed it by Sholl with a backhand, putting the Rush up 3-1 (Faryna had the lone assist).
Down, but not out yet, Idaho came back within striking distance on an impressive maneuver by Captain A.J. White. With 4:45 played in the final period, White took a loose puck from a scramble in the corner and stuffed it by Carlson, cutting the Rush lead to 4-3 (Eric Sweetman and Elgin Pearce assisted). Moments later, Montminy struck again on a loose puck in the Steelheads zone, batting a backhand by Sholl for his second of the contest to re-establish the two-goal lead at 4-2 with 10:30 left in the game (Garrett Klotz had the lone assist). Exactly 1:45 following Montminy’s second, however, Idaho came right back with a power play goal from Kyle Schempp on a deflection of a Brady Norrish blue line shot, redirecting it past Carlson to make it a 4-3 game with 9:15 left in regulation (Norrish and Nolan Gluchowski assisted). Despite an empty net and extra-attacker late, the Steelheads couldn’t muster a tying goal, and surrendered an empty-netter to Justin Faryna with 5.3 seconds left, giving the Rush the final say in a crucial 5-3 win, keeping their playoff hopes alive heading into Friday night.
Adam Carlson was sensational once again, stopping 45 of 48 shots on his net in the victory (20-16-3-2). With the win, Carlson becomes the first Rush goaltender to amass 20 wins in a season since Rush legend Danny Battochio did so in his final year as a professional in the 2015-16 ECHL campaign, before his retirement and appointment as the team’s Goaltending Coach.
The Rush continue their five consecutive matchups against the Idaho Steelheads, with games four and five still to come in Boise this week. Puck drop for game four on March 29th is slated for 7:10 p.m. MST at CenturyLink Arena.