(TULSA, OK) – The Rapid City Rush rode a red-hot power play to an early lead, and thanks to Dave Tendeck’s 38 saves on 40 shots defeated the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday night by a 3-2 final score. The win secures a sweep of the three-game set against Tulsa, with every win coming in regulation (4-1 on Wednesday and 6-5 at the buzzer on Friday were the earlier victories). Additionally it was the final head-to-head meeting between the long-time adversaries in the 2020-21 ECHL season, in which the Rush finished 8-4-0-0 against the Oilers in 12 games, winning six of the last seven matchups dating back to February 13th.
The Rush power play continued to heat up in the opening period, and took a 2-0 lead into the intermission. Avery Peterson got things started for the Rush when he deflected a David Quenneville pass from the slot on the first power play of the game over the shoulder of Oilers goalie Hayden Hawkey to give the Rush an early 1-0 lead at 2:56 of the first (both of the Quenneville brothers assisted). At the midway point of the frame, the Rush received a double-minor power play, and Ian Edmondson converted on the back-end of the man-advantage to double the Rush lead. With 9:36 left in the first, Edmondson threaded a shot through a sea of humanity and past Hawkey to push the Rush to a 2-0 advantage (Kevin Spinozzi and Mike Hedden assisted).
Tyson Empey shot out of the gate into the second frame to triple the Rush advantage on the first shift. With 32 seconds gone by, Empey slammed home a Mikael Tam slot shot rebound past Hawkey to push the Rush ahead with the only even strength goal of the game to vault the Rush to a 3-0 lead (Tam and Jack Suter assisted). However, the Oilers took advantage of some timely penalties and came within striking distance before the break. Oilers Captain Adam Pleskach started off the scoring entries when he collected a rebound in close range of the net and wrapped around for a goal past Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck to cut the Rush lead to 3-1 with 4:26 played in the second (Gregg Burmaster and Matt Lane assisted). Lane then pocketed a backdoor rebound of his own on the final power play of the game to bring the Oilers within one at 3-2 with 4:49 left in the second (Burmaster and Conor Landrigan assisted). Tendeck remained resilient in the final period, staving off all 17 Oilers shots he saw in the last 20 minutes. Despite Hawkey pulled in the last minute for the extra-attacker, the Oilers failed to tie the game and perpetuate it, resulting in a 3-2 Rush win and sweep of Tulsa, with every Rush victory coming in regulation.
Dave Tendeck, making an appearance for a second straight night with his first Rush start since February 10th vs Tulsa, earned the win stopping all but two of 40 Oilers shots (6-8-0-0).
The Rush return home for another brief “three-in-three” against the Kansas City Mavericks. Puck drop for Friday, April 30th and “Kentucky Derby Night” on Saturday, May 1st, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT. Sunday’s matinee finale on “Racing Day” is set for 4:05 p.m. MDT at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.