(RAPID CITY, SD) – Tyler Coulter netted a power play goal with 3:51 left in the third period, but the offensive spark was too little too late as the Tulsa Oilers previously jumped out to a 3-0 lead, en route to a 4-1 win on Friday night. The loss is the third straight for the Rush on home ice, with this one coming in the weekend’s series opener against the Oilers.
Both teams skated to a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes of play, with Tulsa pacing the offensive output with 12 shots to the 7 of the Rush. Just 51 seconds into the second, however, Danny Moynihan began Tulsa’s offensive onslaught with the first shot of the frame. He took an east-west pass from Maxim Golod and rifled a one-timer from the left wing faceoff circle past Rush net-minder Gordy Defiel, giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead (Golod and Gregg Burmaster assisted). Over the midway point of the period, Burmaster hit pay-dirt in a near identical recreation of the Oilers first goal, instead firing his one-time pass from Ian McNulty from the high slot past Defiel, giving the Oilers a 2-0 lead with 6:33 left in the frame (McNulty and Austin McEneny assisted). Charlie Sampair capped off second period scoring with exactly 100 seconds left in the period, deflecting a Justin Hamonic blue line shot past Defiel to vault Tulsa to a 3-0 lead, coming on an 18-4 second period shot margin (Hamonic had the lone assist).
The Rush, desperately trying to mount a comeback, found some life in the final period on their last power play of the game. Tyler Coulter broke the shutout of Oiler goaltender Roman Durny when he somehow managed to slide the puck through a sea of humanity and over the goal line to get the Rush on the board, trailing 3-1 with 3:51 left in the game (Avery Peterson and Ian Edmondson assisted). Pulling Defiel for the extra-attacker, the Rush tried to ride that momentum from Coulter’s goal to a feverish finish, but Darby Llewellyn put the final nail in the coffin with an empty-net tally to bring the game to its 4-1 final in favor of the Oilers.
Gordy Defiel, making his first appearance for the Rush since March 7, 2020, stopped 35 of 38 shots in the defeat (0-1-0-0)
The Rush continue their “three-in-three” against the Tulsa Oilers with a rematch tomorrow night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT, while Sunday’s matinee finale is slated for 4:05 p.m. MDT.