(RAPID CITY, SD) – Charlie Curti and Jack Suter brought the Rapid City Rush back to a 2-2 hockey game heading into the third period, but Les Lancaster netted the game-winner with 10:22 left in the game to lift the Allen Americans to an eventual 4-2 win on Saturday night. The Allen win gives them the series with victories on Friday and Saturday, while the Rush claimed Wednesday night’s contest in the three-game series.
Allen struck first for the first time in the three-game series, and carried a 2-0 lead into the intermission. Joseph Garreffa fired a one-timed shot from the high slot past Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck to give the Americans a 1-0 lead at 10:25 of the first period (Jesse Mychan and Tyler Sheehy assisted). A few moments later, Corey Mackin collected a net-front turnover in the Rush zone and roofed a shot over Tendeck to extend the advantage to 2-0 (the goal was unassisted).
For both the home team and the crowd of 4,200+ at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena, fireworks went off. After a first period in which two penalty minutes were assessed, 81 PIM were dealt out in a chaotic middle frame. Once the dust settled down, the Rush fired back and tied the game heading into the third. Charlie Curti got things started with his first goal in a Rush uniform on a one-time shot from inside the Allen blue line. Curit collected a Griffin Luce pass and rifled his shot through traffic past CJ Motte to get the Rush on the board, trailing 2-1 at 7:21 of the second (Luce and Jack Suter assisted). Following the goal, even more penalties were dealt out, resulting in an ejection of Garrett Klotz, but an additional Allen minor penalty created a 4-on-4 situation, then to a major power play situation for the Americans for three minutes. Right as the power play started, Tyler Coulter found Suter point blank in front of the Allen net. With 9:29 left in the second, Suter tucked the puck behind Motte, and squared the game at 2-2 (Coulter had the lone assist).
The dust settled and hockey played once again, both teams transitioned to the final period. The Americans retook the lead thanks to Les Lancaster. With 10:22 left in the game, Lancaster jumped in a neutral zone rush and drove the net, pushing the puck past Tendeck to give the Americans a 3-2 lead (Joseph Garreffa and Jake McGrew assisted). For a second straight game, the Rush earned a power play within the last two and a half minutes, and pulled Tendeck for an extra-attacker and a 6-on-4 advantage. Unfortunately, for a second straight game, Allen pocketed an empty-netter in the sequence, courtesy of Samuel Laberge, who put the nail in the coffin with 1:40 left in the game to give Allen a 4-2 win.
Dave Tendeck stopped 36 of 39 shots, suffering his fourth defeat of the season (0-4-0-0).
The Rush continue their eight-game home stand with a “three-in-three” against the Tulsa Oilers next weekend. Puck drop for Friday and Saturday, January 15th and 16th, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT, while Sunday’s matinee is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. MDT.