(GREENVILLE, S.C.) – The Rapid City Rush scored five goals in the third period and nearly erased a five-goal deficit but were eventually beaten by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 7-6, Sunday afternoon at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Rapid City’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at one.
With the Rush trailing, 6-1, entering the third, Avery Peterson helped to wake up the Rapid City attack in the first minute of the period. Max Coatta fed him and the left circle and Peterson carried the puck to the net, deked to his backhand and slid the shot past John Lethemon to make it 6-2.
Greenville then cashed in with a goal from Ayden MacDonald on a 5-on-3 power play, but the Rush struck again shortly thereafter when Alec Butcher snuck a shot through Lethomon’s legs from the short side, making the score 7-3.
Two and a half minutes after Butcher’s goal, Calder Brooks fed a pass to Max Coatta at the left circle. Coatta stepped into a shot from a sharp angle and it went in high on the glove side to the far post, cutting the deficit to 7-4.
Rapid City kept pressuring after that goal and Butcher took a stretch pass at the blue line and brought it in down the right wing. He snapped a wrist shot past Lethomon’s blocker to make it 7-5.
Less than a minute later, Brooks took a pass in the neutral zone and charged into the attacking end. He fired a snap shot low on the blocker side and beat Lethomon again, cutting the lead to one.
The Rush would then pull Dillon Kelley for an extra attacker and continued to mount pressure in the attacking zone. Despite several more chances, they could not get the equalizing goal and the comeback fell just short, 7-6.
Greenville took its 6-1 third period lead thanks to a natural hat trick from Anthony Rinaldi and additional goals from MacDonald, Dallas Gerads and Max Zimmer. Brett Gravelle netted the first goal for the Rush in the second period and now has goals in five consecutive games.
Rapid City fell to 34-24-6-5 in the loss while Greenville improved to 31-28-5-4. The Rush will now return home for their final three games of the regular season, all of which will come against the Tulsa Oilers. It begins on Wednesday night and puck drop at The Monument Ice Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.