(RAPID CITY, SD) – Ian Edmondson and Mikael Tam gave the Rapid City Rush an early 2-0 lead, but the Kansas City Mavericks, led by Giorgio Estephan and Brodie Reid, scored five unanswered goals to avoid the sweep and defeat the Rush by a 5-2 score on Sunday afternoon. Despite the loss, which snapped a five-game Rush winning streak, the Rush maintain the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot with 16 games remaining. Additionally, the Rush were one win away from sweeping the Mavericks in their season series, which concluded at 6-1-0-0 head-to-head.
The Rush jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to their back-end, but the Mavericks started their scoring stretch prior to the end of the frame. Ian Edmondson took an offensive zone faceoff win from Avery Peterson and fired a shot through traffic. The shot deflected off of a Mavericks defender and past goaltender Andrew Shortridge, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead at 3:23 of the first (Peterson and Peter Quenneville assisted). Moments later, the Mavericks turned the puck over to Mikael Tam, who intercepted an errant cross-ice pass off the Mavericks blue line. Tam, with no one around for a country mile, five-holed Shortridge for his first goal of the season to make it a 2-0 Rush lead at 6:11 of the first (the goal was unassisted). Kansas City countered on their first power play of the game to cut the deficit and begin their scoring run thanks to a Brodie Reid one-timer from the left-wing wall, bringing the score to 2-1 with 6:31 left in the first (Giorgio Estephan had the lone assist).
The Mavericks took over in the second period, outshooting the Rush by a 14-2 margin and claiming the lead heading into the dressing room. Bryan Lemos navigated net-front traffic in the Rush zone and slipped the puck by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson, squaring the game at 2-2 with 9:44 gone by in the second (Greg Moro and Loren Ulett assisted). With 3:00 left in the period, Estephan hit pay-dirt for the eventual game-winner, rifling a Lane Scheidl pass by Carlson to give the Mavericks a 3-2 lead (Scheidl and Brodie Reid assisted).
In the midst of four-on-four hockey, Kansas City began to put the game away. At 5:45, Adam Brady collected a Rob Bordson drop pass, waited for traffic to form, and fired a shot by a screened Carlson to extend the Mavericks lead to 4-2 (Bordson had the lone assist). Darik Angeli finished the scoring entries with 4:52 left in the game when he collected an oddly bouncing puck off of a Rush defender and out-deked Carlson, bringing the final score to 5-2 in Mavericks favor, avoiding a sweep against the Rush.
Adam Carlson, making his first start since a win against Allen on April 14th, suffered the loss with 35 saves on 40 shots (13-9-2-1).
The Rush now embark on a seven-game road trip, beginning with four games in five nights against the Utah Grizzlies. Puck drop for every game on Tuesday, May 4th, Wednesday, May 5th, Friday, May 7th, and Saturday, May 8th, is slated for 7:10 p.m. MDT.