(WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah) – Calder Brooks scored twice and Rory Kerins had a pair of assists but the Rapid City Rush lost on the road to the Utah Grizzlies 6-4 on Friday night at Maverik Center.
The Grizzlies struck first in the opening period after a failed clearing attempt from the Rush zone. Brandon Cutler intercepted the puck at the blue line and quickly fired it toward the net. Daniil Chechelev was caught out of the net and could not get back in time as Utah took a 1-0 lead.
Rapid City answered late in the first when Matt Marcinew sent a pass to the back post where Brooks was crashing the net. Brooks chipped the puck over the shoulder of Trent Miner, evening the score at one.
Utah then took control with three goals in the second period. First, Tarun Fizer buried a one-timer from the left circle. Then, Cutler was fed for a point-blank chance off an odd-man rush that he snuck through Chechelev. Finally, Cutler snapped another shot home from the left side while on a power play, giving him a hat trick and extending the lead to 4-1.
Brooks struck again late in the second period to get Rapid City back on the board. He carried the puck toward the net and deked to his backhand as Miner lunged with a poke check. Brooks tumbled down as he slid to puck into the net and cut the deficit to 4-2.
But the Grizzlies answered early in the third with Cutler’s fourth goal of the game, a rebound that was poked between Adam Carlson’s legs. Rapid City got back within two after Lucas Feuk buried a rebound on the power play to make the score 5-3. Utah then responded with another power play goal, this time thanks to an Andrew Nielsen wrist shot from the blue line.
The Rush got one more late goal, when Logan Nelson snapped a pass to the back door for Keanu Yamamoto. He deflected it past Miner for a power play goal that cut the Grizzlies lead to 6-4.
Brooks had two goals and is now tied for the team lead with 17, Chechelev made 18 saves on 21 shots before being pulled for Carlson, who stopped 14 of 17 in relief.
The Rush dropped to 20-20-1-0 in the loss while Utah improved to 18-20-1-0. The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in West Valley City. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Maverik Center.