(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – Brad Arvanitis made 45 saves on 46 shots in his pro debut, Logan Nelson scored his 100th career ECHL goal and the Rapid City Rush blasted the Atlanta Gladiators, 5-1, Saturday night at The Monument Ice Arena.
The Rush opened the scoring in the first period when Alec Butcher took a loose puck below the goal line and wrapped it around the far post. His shot beat Joe Murdaca’s skate to the post and gave Rapid City a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta answered later in the first when Gabe Guertler poked in a rebound. Rapid City took the lead back, however, as Keegan Iverson carried the puck toward the right-wing corner and hit a streaking Zach Court heading for the front of the net. Court snapped a shot past Murdaca’s blocker side and the Rush took a 2-1 lead.
They added to that lead in the second period when Max Coatta fed Nelson for a one-timer that he blasted home from the left circle. Later in the second, Butcher took a pass in the defensive zone and sped all the way to the attacking end. His first shot was stopped by Murdaca but he finished on his second chance, extending the lead to 4-1.
Late in the second, with the Rush on a two-man advantage, Brett Gravelle fired a shot on net that was blocked but the rebound bounced to Nelson on the back door. He tapped it into the net for his 100th career ECHL goal, which pushed the score to 5-1.
With the Rush in need of a goaltender following the recall of Lukas Parik to Ontario, Arvanitis was signed out of the collegiate ranks on Saturday morning. He arrived in town just hours before the game was scheduled to start and was spectacular in his first pro action, stopping 45 of 46 shots faced, including 20 in the third period. Arvanitis also picked up an assist in the game and was named the number one star, as the Rush took the win, 5-1.
Butcher had two goals and an assist, Nelson scored twice and Ryan Zuhlsdorf had two assists, extending his point streak to 11 games. Rapid City now has points in 13 of its past 15 outings and improved to 32-21-4-5 with the victory. Atlanta fell to 39-20-3-1 in the loss.
The Rush and Gladiators will finish their weekend set on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. at The Monument Ice Arena.