(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - The Rapid City Rush netted a pair of power play goals in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead but didn’t hold it as they fell to the Utah Grizzlies in a high-scoring affair, 6-4, Saturday night at The Monument Ice Arena.
The Rush got on the board early in the first while on a man advantage when Colton Leiter hit Max Coatta on the left post. Coatta fired a short side shot that squeaked over the goal line and past Cole Kehler, giving Rapid City a 1-0 lead.
It added to that lead later in the period, again on a power play, when Stephen Baylis snapped a pass to Gabe Chabot who had space above the right circle. His wrist shot sailed past Kehler’s glove and the lead grew to 2-0.
Utah got itself going in the second period, first with a power play goal from Mason Mannek that was netted after two Rapid City penalty killers broke their sticks. The Grizzlies then tied it up when Andrew Nielsen stuffed home a rebound, and took the lead after Trey Bradley hit Benjamin Tardif for a tap-in in front of the net.
The Rush tied the game again late in the second after Christian Evers took a slap shot from the blue line that Calder Brooks deflected in the slot. The puck sailed past Kehler, evening the score at 3-3.
But the Grizzlies managed to take the lead back thanks to an odd-man break. Tyler Penner and Zac Robbins gained the zone with a two-on-one and Penner fed Robbins for a one-timer that he ripped through Lukas Parik, putting the Grizzlies on top for good.
Utah got two more in the third period to provide some breathing room, first from Mannek and then Gehrett Sargis, pushing the advantage to 6-3. Rapid City cut back into that lead late in the game while skating 4-on-4 when Derek Perl sprung Jake Wahlin down the left wing and into the attacking zone. Wahlin carried the puck to the net, deked to his backhand and slid it past Kehler to make the score 6-4.
Evers had two assists and Wahlin scored for the second straight game for Rapid City who fell to 13-13-2-2 in the loss. Utah improved to 19-10-1-0 in its win. The Rush will return to action on Friday night for the first of three games next weekend against the Iowa Heartlanders. Puck drop at The Monument Ice Arena is scheduled for 7:05 PM.