(TULSA, OK) – The Rapid City Rush struck three times on the power play for second straight game, but net-minder Tyler Parks stole the show with a 31-save shutout, the first of his ECHL career, as the Rush defeated the Tulsa Oilers by a 5-0 score on Saturday night. The win gives the Rush points in the standings in three of the first four games played this season.
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw after 20 minutes of play, but the Rush struck in quick succession in the second period to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Scoring began with Dane Birks, who, off of a Cedric Montminy faceoff win, fired a blue line shot past a screened Olle Eriksson Ek in Tulsa’s net, putting the Rush on top 1-0 with 6:21 gone by in the second (Montminy had the lone assist). Exactly 41 seconds later, Brennan Saulnier finished a hard-working sequence down low, pocketing a rebound off of an Eriksson Ek save for his first career ECHL goal and a 2-0 Rush advantage (Eric Israel and Tyler Coulter assisted). Through the first two periods, Rush goaltender Tyler Parks safely turned aside all 23 shots he saw through 40 minutes of play in what was a tight, and chippy contest leading into the final period.
Things got out of hand in the final 20 minutes for Tulsa, who saw Deven Sideroff and Mike McKee face ejections in quick succession. Although Tyler Coulter was assessed a minor for roughing, Sideroff was assessed “5 and a 10” for spearing, which put the Rush on a major power play at 9:20 of the third period following a short bout of four-on-four hockey. Following that, Mike McKee cross-checked Dane Birks head-first into the corner boards, earning himself 2 minutes for roughing, and “5 and a 10” for cross-checking, as well as an ejection. It put the Rush on a five-on-three “score at will” major power play for 1:56. Within a span of 1:18, the Rush buried the Oilers with three consecutive five-on-three power play goals, beginning with Giovanni Fiore’s one-timer from the far circle at 12:58 (Peter Quenneville and Eric Israel assisted). Exactly 30 seconds later, Quenneville buried a power play goal of his own (Israel and Chris Izmirlian assisted), followed by Alex Rauter’s deflection of a Josh Elmes shot at 14:16 to quickly inflate the Rush lead to 5-0 (Elmes and Trey Phillips assisted). Once the game finally went back to even strength hockey, Parks stood strong and turned aside the final 8 shots in the third period, securing his first career ECHL shutout on 31 saves, and a 5-0 Rush win.
In addition to Parks' milestone night, Rush rookie defenseman Eric Israel made his professional debut, and earned three assists in the game. Additionally, for a second game in a row, 10 or more Rush skaters earned a point in the contest, with 11 finding their names on the scoresheet on Saturday night. In the last three games, the Rush power play is 7/16, or 43.8%.
The Rush conclude their series with the Oilers tomorrow, Sunday, October 20th. Puck drop at the BOK Center is slated for 3:05 p.m. MDT tomorrow afternoon.
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