(RAPID CITY, SD) – Peter Quenneville tied the game with 99 seconds left in regulation with his team’s third power play goal, and it allowed the Rapid City Rush to claim a crucial point in a shootout loss against the Utah Grizzlies, 5-4 on Friday night. Despite the loss, the Rush have points in six straight games dating back to March 6th against Greenville, and enter their eight-game home stand finale with a 5-1-1 record in the previous seven contests.
Utah drew first blood in the contest and took a 1-0 lead into the intermission. With 4:56 left in the first, the Grizzlies batted down a Rush attempt out of the zone and passed around the Rush slot area. Travis Barron hit Cedric Pare, who gave it right back to Barron and the to Charlie Gerrard, who fired a shot past Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to give Utah a 1-0 lead (Barron and Pare assisted).
The Rush offense, thanks to their red-hot power play, came to life in the second period to force a 3-3 deadlock after 40 minutes of action. Before the Rush heated up, however, Gerard hit pay dirt for a second time. With 4:41 gone by in the second, a hard rimmed puck came to Gerard in neutral ice, and he entered the Rush zone on a partial odd-man break. Gerard elected to shoot instead of pass and rifled a shot past Carlson to double the Utah lead at 2-0 (Pare and Hunter Skinner assisted). Moments later, Ryan Lowney was found guilty of a double-minor high-sticking infraction, putting the Rush to the power play for four minutes. The Rush power play struck on both the front and back end of the double minor to tie the game, starting with Mike Hedden. At 6:33 of the second, Kevin Spinozzi floated a wrister towards the Grizzlies net from just inside the blue line. It deflected twice: off of Andrew Sturtz, and then off of Hedden and behind Utah goalie Kevin Carr, cutting the deficit to 2-1 (Sturtz and Spinozzi assisted). Exactly 28 seconds later, Avery Peterson cleaned up a rebound off of a Peter Quenneville shot and barely got enough of it to press it behind the goal line, squaring the game at 2-2 at 7:01 of the second (Quenneville and Cedric Montminy assisted). Right after the Rush killed off a penalty, Utah once again found a way to keep the puck in the Rush zone and go to work. Jack Jenkins re-established the Grizzlies lead after he collected the puck in the high slot a fired a shot that barely went off of Carlson an in, putting Utah ahead 3-2 (Barron and Michael Prapavessis assisted). The Rush, however, got the last word of the frame in the final seconds of the second. With 10.9 seconds remaining, Spinozzi dropped the puck to an oncoming Tyler Coulter, who came into the Grizzlies zone with speed. Looking like he was going to shoot, Coulter deferred to Quenneville with a wide open net, and buried a one-timer to square the game at 3-3 (Coulter and Spinozzi assisted).
Both teams traded blows in the final period to force extracurricular activity. Utah jumped out ahead again with 4:45 left in the game after Miles Gendron streaked into the Rush zone and threw a shot on net, denied by Carlson. The rebound came to Matt Hoover, who fully wound up and unleashed a slap shot that beat Carlson under the arm to push the Grizzlies to a 4-3 lead (Gendron and Ty Lewis assisted). With 2:13 left in regulation, Travis Barron committed an ill-timed high sticking penalty, putting a red-hot Rush power play back on the ice. Peter Quenneville tied the game shortly into the man-advantage, blasting a one-timer from the far wall past Carr to square the game at 4-4 with 99 second left in the game, the third power play goal for the Rush (Peterson and Edmondson assisted). Neither team could produce a game-winner, leading to overtime.
Both teams couldn’t register the game-winner in the extra seven minutes provided, due to the stellar goaltending from Carr and Carlson. Utah earned the win in the shootout in the bottom of the first round, when Hunter Skinner rifled a shot that beat Carlson’s glove. Tyler Coulter, Peter Quenneville, and Hunter Garlent (to keep it going in the final round) were all denied by Carr, giving Utah the second point and the 5-4 shootout win.
Adam Carlson stopped 26 of 30 shots on net in regulation and overtime, and allowed one goal on two shooters in the shootout to suffer the defeat (9-5-1-1). Carlson now has points for the Rush in five straight starts, going 4-0-0-1 since March 6th against Greenville.
The Rush conclude their eight-game homestand against the Utah Grizzlies tomorrow in the rematch. Puck drop for “Nickelodeon Night featuring Double Dare”, sponsored by Singh Contracting on Saturday, March 20th, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT.