(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush scored three unanswered goals in the third period and hung on to defeat the Idaho Steelheads, 5-4, Friday night at the Idaho Central Arena. Stephen Baylis led the way with two goals and Kenton Helgesen’s first goal with the Rush served as the game-winner.
With the Rush trailing, 4-2, early in the third period, Logan Nelson grabbed a puck below the goal line and fed Baylis streaking toward the slot. Baylis fell to one knee as he let loose a wrist shot that sailed past Adam Scheel and cut the deficit in half.
Rapid City won the ensuing faceoff and Jake Wahlin sprung Chase Harrison streaking down the right wing. Harrison snapped a shot top shelf past Scheel’s blocker and just 11 seconds after the Baylis goal, the game was tied.
The Rush kept the pressure up and took the lead for good four and a half minutes later. Off a won faceoff in the attacking zone, Gabe Chabot fed Helgesen at the blue line for a slap shot that navigated traffic and beat Scheel high to make it 5-4.
Idaho pulled its goaltender with just under two minutes to play but could not sneak anything else past Cole Kehler. The Rush hung on for the 5-4 win, giving former Steelheads player and assistant coach Scott Burt a victory in his first game in Idaho as an opposing head coach.
Idaho opened the scoring with a Yauheni Aksiantsiuk one-timer early in the first period. Rapid City answered just over four minutes later while working on the power play. Baylis grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, split the defense and burned into the attacking end. He flipped a backhander on net that beat Adam Scheel low on the blocker side and the Rush evened the score at one.
The Rush took the lead with just over five minutes to play in the opening frame as a slap shot from the point hit traffic in front. As bodies crashed into the crease, Colton Leiter swept the loose puck past Scheel to give Rapid City its first lead of the game.
Idaho tied things up early in the second period when Luc Brown was fed at the left circle for a snap shot that went top shelf through Kehler. They took the lead on a Will Merchant deflection goal on the power play later in the third and extended that lead in the first minute of the third when Merchant beat Kehler five hole on a breakaway.
Baylis had two goals, Harrison registered a goal and an assist and Kehler made 27 saves on 31 shots in the win. Rapid City improved to 2-1-0 with the win while Idaho dropped to 2-2-0. The Rush and Steelheads will meet again on Saturday night. Puck drop at the Idaho Central Arena is scheduled for 7:10 P.M.