(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – Brett Gravelle and Calder Brooks each had two goals and an assist, Dillon Kelley made 37 saves on 39 shots and the Rapid City Rush beat the Tulsa Oilers, 5-2, in the final game of the regular season, Saturday night at The Monument Ice Arena. The Rush finished the regular season with 83 points and as the second seed in Mountain Division heading into the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Rapid City will take on the Allen Americans in the first round.
Rapid City opened the scoring less than two minutes into the first period. Gravelle took a pass at center and brought the puck over the blue line into the attacking zone. He snapped a shot that Ryan Ruck got a piece of, but it trickled over the goal line and in to make the score 1-0.
Tulsa tied things up just past the halfway point of the period. Jimmy Soper found Tanner Lishchynsky at the point for a wrist shot that fluttered past the glove of Kelley, tying the game at one.
The Rush took the lead back in the final minute of the first when Alex Stevens carried the puck into the attacking zone and left a backhanded pass for Brooks at the left circle. He sniped a shot top shelf past Ruck and the Rush led, 2-1.
In the second, Keegan Iverson carried the puck down the right wing and fired a shot on net that Ruck stopped. The rebound caromed to Gabe Chabot on the left wing circle. He stepped into a slap shot and cranked it through Ruck’s legs, pushing the lead to 3-1.
Rapid City added to that lead again in the third when Gravelle stick-lifted Mike McKee in the attacking zone and turned toward the net. He deked from his backhand to his forehand and tucked a shot past Ruck to make it 4-1. Later, Gravelle found Brooks in the slot for a wrist shot that he buried for his second goal of the game, extending the lead to 5-1.
Tulsa got one back late in the third, a power play tally from Max Golod, but it wasn’t close to enough as the Rush cruised to a 5-2 win.
Rapid City finished the regular season with a record of 36-25-6-5 and 83 points, the most it has recorded in the ECHL era of the franchise’s history. The Rush will face the Allen Americans in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, beginning with game one on Friday night at The Monument Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. Playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. and the full schedule is as follows.
Game 1: Allen at Rapid City, April 22
Game 2: Allen at Rapid City, April 23
Game 3: Rapid City at Allen, April 26
Game 4: Rapid City at Allen, April 29
Game 5 (if necessary): Rapid City at Allen, April 30
Game 6 (if necessary): Allen at Rapid City, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Allen at Rapid City, May 4