(RAPID CITY, SD) – Hunter Garlent netted the game-winner 35 seconds into overtime, and in tandem with Tyler Coulter’s 3 points (G, 2ast), Cedric Montminy’s pair of goals, and Peter Quenneville’s pair of assists, herded the Rapid City Rush to a 5-4 overtime victory over the Utah Grizzlies on “Rodeo Night”. The win gives the Rush a split of their weekend series against the Grizzlies, and a 4-4-0-0 showing in their eight-game home stand.
The Rush shot right out of the chute and bucked to an early 2-0 lead. Avery Peterson started things off for the Rush with a point-blank tap-in on a Tyler Coulter rebound past a sprawled out Kevin Carr in Utah’s crease, giving the Rush an early 1-0 lead 3:04 into the game (Coulter and Peter Quenneville assisted). Moments later, Cedric Montminy went on a two-on-one break with Tyson Empey into the Grizzlies zone. Instead of deffering to Empey, Montminy feigned a maneuver and rifled a shot past Carr to double the Rush lead to 2-0 (Shawn Boutin and Gabriel Chabot assisted).
Despite the early lead, Utah slowly wrangled right back and tied the game up at 2-2, despite late controversy. Ryan Lowney started things off for Utah with a shot inside the blue line that whizzed over the shoulder of Rush net-minder Gordy Defiel to cut the deficit to 2-1 at 3:50 of the second (Hunter Skinner and Matthew Boucher assisted). With 3:35 left in the second period, it appeared that Defiel had a sharp angle shot denied, and a whistle blown to signify the end of the play. However, Jared Pike poked the puck past Defiel and just barely over the line. After no initial call, and a lengthy conference by the officials, the goal was awarded. It went to video review, and was upheld to tie the game at 2-2 (Riley Woods and Matthew Boucher assisted).
Despite the adversity, the Rush and Grizzlies entered the final 20 minutes of the period, and in fast pace akin to a barrel race, gave the fans and electric final 10 minutes to cheer about. Tyler Coulter hit pay-dirt to give the Rush the lead with 7:58 left in the game, deflecting a Charlie Curti blue line shot past Carr to put the Rush on top 3-2 (Curti and Peter Quenneville assisted). However, Utah fired right back and squared the game up 2:40 later. With 5:18 left in the game, Matthew Boucher took a Riley Woods pass off of a far wall turnover in the Rush zone, and while just off the goal line slipped the puck past Defiel to square the game at 3-3 (Woods and Cedric Pare assisted). Undeterred, the Rush wrestled with the steer of the Grizzlies and evened things up again. Exactly 61 seconds later, Cedric Montminy stopped a Utah attempt to clear their zone when he button hooked back to the blue line and contained the offensive third. With 4:17 left in the game, Montminy rifled a shot past Carr again on his glove side to push the Rush back in top position at 4-3 (the goal was unassisted). The call-and-response frame ended with 2:23 left in the game, when a turnover behind the Rush net gave A.J. White a chance to find Pat Cannone on the near side of the Rush zone. Cannone lasered one over Defiel’s shoulder to square the game back up at 4-4 (White had the lone assist). When the dust settled, both teams exchanged four total goals in 5:35 of play time. Utah thought they won the game with 11 seconds left, but a blatantly obvious goaltender interference negated the chance for them to steal a point for the Rush. For the first time this year, the Rush headed to overtime.
It only took 35 seconds, but the Rush finished the rodeo by wrangling the last point up for grabs. After Gordy Defiel denied Matthew Boucher on a clear breakaway, Tyler Coulter led a three-on-two into the Grizzlies zone. Coulter fired a shot that bounced off of Carr and perfectly to the tape of Hunter Garlent, who buried his shot in a wide open net to give the Rush a 3-2 win (Coulter and Gordy Defiel assisted).
Gordy Defiel secured his second win of the season in as many starts, stopping 29 of 32 shots in the victory (2-1-0-0).
The Rush now transition to their annual “Stock Show Road Trip”, which takes them through three cities for six games over the next two weeks. The trip begins with a “three-in-three” next Friday, January 29th against the Wichita Thunder, with puck drop slated for 6:05 p.m. MDT at INTRUST Bank Arena.