(RAPID CITY, SD) – Alex Rauter and Tyler Poulsen provided the Rapid City Rush with two leads in the first two periods of play, but Jordan Topping of the Allen Americans fired back with the game-tying goal late in the third, as well as the overtime winner to lift the Americans to a 3-2 win over the Rush on Friday night. The game marked the season-opener for both heated Mountain Division rivals for the 2019-20 ECHL season.
Alex Rauter potted the lone goal of the first period to give the Rush the advantage after the first 20 minutes. With 4:26 played into the season, Rauter slammed home a rebound on a Giovanni Fiore shot that slipped by Allen goaltender Jake Paterson, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead (Fiore and Peter Quenneville assisted).
Allen started off the second period with an answer following the second Rush penalty kill of the game. With 3:04 gone by in the second, Brett Pollock tied the game in similar fashion to Rauter, slamming a Les Lancaster rebound by Rush net-minder Tyler Parks to square the game at 1-1 (Lancaster and Shawn O’Donnell assisted). Tyler Poulsen fired back roughly five minutes later to push the Rush on top again as they headed into the final period. With 11:36 left in the second, Myles McGurty maneuvered around his assailant in the defensive zone and fired a stretch pass to Cedric Montminy in neutral ice. Montminy bumped the puck back to Poulsen, who rifled a shot over Paterson’s blocker to help the Rush re-take the lead at 2-1 (Montminy and McGurty assisted).
Both rivals traded shots back and forth in the final period, but Allen broke through in the final moments of regulation to extend the game. Jordan Topping tied things up with 91 seconds remaining in the game, firing an Alex Breton pass behind a screened Tyler Parks to square the game at 2-2 (Breton and Jason Salvaggio assisted).
The Rush, who appeared in an ECHL high 21 overtime/shootout games last season, got to see the implementation of the new 7-minute 3-on-3 overtime right at the start of the season, but it would be Allen that picked up the second point up for grabs. Topping stepped up again in overtime to deliver the Americans their first win of the season when he flipped a Josh Lammon pass over the shoulder of Parks, giving Allen the win 2:58 into overtime (Lammon and Stepan Falkovsky assisted).
Tyler Parks became the fourth goaltender in Rush history to start in back-to-back season-openers for the Rush, and suffered the overtime loss, stopping 28 of 31 shots in 62:58 of hockey (0-0-1-0).
The Rush are back in action tomorrow night against the Wichita Thunder at INTRUST Bank Arena. Puck drop for the Mountain Division showdown is slated for 6:05 p.m. MDT.
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