(RAPID CITY, SD) – Hunter Garlent’s overtime breakaway was spoiled by two inches of hollow iron, but Peter Quenneville picked up the garbage and rifled home the overtime winner to lift the Rapid City Rush to a 5-4 win over the Indy Fuel on Wednesday night. Coupled with a Utah Grizzlies loss, the win brings the Rush closer to the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot, now a .039% differential, with eight games left in the regular season. Wednesday’s game also marked the first time that both teams squared off in Rapid City against eachother.
Both teams traded blows in the opening 20 minutes, leaving all evened up. Avery Peterson opened the scoring entries with his co-ECHL-leading 27th goal of the year, firing a shot that got redirected by an Indy defender and through the five-hole of Fuel goalie Billy Christopoulos, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead at 5:18 of the first (Johnny Coughlin and Cedric Montminy assisted). However, moments later, Indy tied the game on an offensive zone draw. With 6:53 played, Jared Thomas won the faceoff and it produced a shot on net. Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck made the original save, but Thomas bust through traffic and fired the rebound past him to square the game at 1-1 (Nic Pierog and Diego Cuglietta assisted).
The second period was a wild frame, producing five of the game’s nine total goals. The Rush earned a two-man advantage in the early stages of the frame for 98 seconds, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. Instead, Christ Martenet gave the Fuel their only lead of the game when he came out of the penalty box, delivering on a two-on-one break out of the box to make it 2-1 Fuel at 4:04 of the second (Terry Broadhurst had the lone assist). Shortly after, Cedric Montminy started a streak of three unanswered goals for the Rush to put them back in the driver’s seat. At 5:36, Montminy took a drop pass in-zone from Peter Quenneville, waltzed to the front of the net, and backhanded a shot by Christopoulos to square the game back at 2-2 (Quenneville and Mikael Tam assisted). Near the end of the frame, Hunter Garlent put the Rush back on top when he buried a Tyler Coulter saucer pass back-door to make it a 3-2 hockey game with 3:37 left in the second (Coulter and David Quenneville assisted). Montminy struck for a second time, creating the play with hard work below the goal line that resulted in a high slot shot that he rifled while falling down, doubling the Rush lead to 4-2 with 2:08 left in the second (Tyson Empey and Gabriel Chabot assisted). Indy got the last word, however, when Cliff Watson slammed home a rebound on an odd-man chance in the Rush zone for his first of the season, bridging the gap to 4-3 with 92 seconds remaining in the frame (Nick Hutchison and Josh Dickinson assisted).
Willie Raskob potted the only goal of the final period for Indy, tying the game up and forcing the eventual overtime that followed. With 6:02 left in the game, Raskob denied the Rush of a dump-in from the red line, and kicked it ahead to Mike Pelech while entering the Rush zone. Pelech fired a shot towards the net, and while crashing, Raskob caught a piece of it and redirected it past Tendeck to level the game at 4-4 (Pelech had the lone assist). Both teams couldn’t muster a game-winner before triple-zero, and followed up with overtime.
Only 26 seconds of the seven minutes allotted were necessary, and ended with a Rush win. Ian Edmondson kicked the puck up the far wall of his own zone to Peter Quenneville, who sprung Hunter Garlent off to the races with a quick flick of the wrist. Uncontested, Garlent streaked down the ice and rifled a chance for the win that clanked the glove side post of Christopoulos. The rebound came right in the slot to a trailing Quenneville, who finished off the game and gave the Rush a 5-4 win.
Dave Tendeck stopped 28 of 32 shots on net, earning the 10th win of his rookie season (10-11-0-0).
The Rush continue their seven-game homestand and four game in five day series against the Indy Fuel. Puck drop for Friday, May 21st, and Saturday, May 22nd is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT, while Sunday’s finale is slated for 4:05 p.m. MDT on May 23rd at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
The Rush will honor all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve this country on “Military Appreciation Weekend”, which is presented in partnership with South Dakota Army National Guard and Ebelution Heating & Cooling. “Military Appreciation Weekend” will take place on May 21st and 22nd against the Indy Fuel. The Rush will wear specialty jerseys, also sponsored by Ebelution Heating & Cooling, that will be auctioned following the Saturday game. Active duty military and veterans can buy tickets for both games for $15 each at the Rush office.