(RAPID CITY, SD) – Cedric Montminy fired home the game-tying goal with 77 seconds left in regulation, and provided the game-winner in the seventh round of the shootout to propel the Rapid City Rush to a 4-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night. The win gave the Rush a sweep of the Grizzlies on home-opening weekend, and extended the team’s winning streak to five games dating back to October 13th.
For a sixth time in seven games, the Rush provided the game’s first goal, and received it from Brennan Saulnier. With 7:40 gone by in the contest, Tyler Coulter fed a pass to Saulnier in the slot, and had his original shot stopped by Grizzlies goalie Mason McDonald. Saulnier picked up the rebound and fired it over McDonald’s shoulder to give the Rush an early 1-0 lead (Tyler Coulter and Dexter Dancs assisted). Utah countered late in the period when Ryan Wagner, uncontested towards the Rush net, slipped a shot by net-minder Tyler Parks to square the game at 1-1 with 1:05 left in the opening period (the goal was unassisted).
Utah took the lead in the second stanza on the shoulders of their dynamic power play unit. On the team’s fourth power play of the contest, Grizzlies Captain Taylor Richart slung a point shot through traffic that beat Parks, vaulting Utah to a 2-1 lead with 5:03 gone by in the second (Josh Dickinson and Travis Barron assisted). In the latter half of the second, a melee broke out at center ice that resulted in the ejections of Utah’s Barron and Rapid City’s Coulter, showcasing the tenacious nature of this heated rivalry.
Utah doubled their advantage against the Rush in the early stages of the third period, setting the table for their late comeback. Yuri Terao extended Utah’s advantage to 3-1 after he deflected a Ryan Wagner pass from the near wall towards the slot past Parks with 14:37 left in the final frame (Wagner had the lone assist). The Rush struck back moments later thanks to Tyler Poulsen when he slammed home a rebound off of a Trey Phillips shot to bring the Rush within striking distance with 9:25 remaining, bringing the score to 3-2 (Phillips and Dancs assisted). Desperate to tie the game and salvage a point, the Rush pulled Parks from his net for the extra attacker, and the gamble payed off. With 77 seconds remaining in the game, Cedric Montminy darted off the bench as the extra attacker, and buried a rebound off of a scramble in front, squaring the game at 3-3 to force overtime (Phillips and Rauter assisted).
Seven minutes was not enough to determine a winner, and neither were the three regulation shootout rounds that followed. Even though Peter Quenneville scored for the Rush in the top of the second, Yuri Terao countered in the bottom of the third round to extend the contest to sudden death shootouts. After both teams traded “No Goal” in the box score for three straight rounds, Cedric Montminy was called in the top of the seventh. He buried his shot on the inside of the far post, and followed by a Tyler Parks denial of Cole Cassels, helped power the Rush to a 4-3 win and the sweep of Utah.
Tyler Parks stopped 28 of 31 shots on net, earning his third consecutive win between the pipes dating back to October 13th at Tulsa. He remains undefeated in regulation at 3-0-1-0.
The Rush now look forward to a three-in-three road trip beginning on Friday, November 1st against the Allen Americans. Puck drop at the Allen Event Center is slated for 6:05 p.m. MDT.
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