Tyler Coulter and Peter Quenneville extended their respective point streaks to six games, but Colby McAuley paced the Allen Americans with a four-point night to deliver the Rapid City Rush a 5-2 loss on Friday night. The loss is the first regulation defeat suffered by the Rush since March 5th against Greenville, snapping an eight game point streak that saw the Rush wins seven times.
Allen hit pay dirt late in the first period and carried a narrow lead into the first intermission. With 1:10 left in the opening frame, Les Lancaster utilized a strong physical effort in the neutral zone and burst into the Rush zone. Lancaster fanned on his shot from the slot, but it had enough gas to make its way to a wide open Sam Laberge on the backdoor, who potted the puck past Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to give Allen an early 1-0 lead (Lancaster and Josh Lammon assisted).
Colby McAuley made his presence known in the second period with a pair of goals for the Americans, but the Rush closed the gap with late offense of their own before the clock hit zero. McAuley’s first goal came 7:44 into the second period on a sharp angle backhander from parallel with the goal line that squeaked past Carlson to extend the Americans lead to 2-0 (Matt Register had the lone assist). McAuley struck a second time from the slot on a rebound from a close range chance by Lammon to triple the Allen lead to 3-0 with 4:04 left in the second (Lammon and Samuel Laberge assisted). The Rush, however, counterpunched with two quick goals in the final minutes of the middle frame. With 2:47 left in the period, Avery Peterson collected a drop pass from Tyler Coulter, skated down the left wing, and launched a sharp angle shot over the shoulder of Allen goalie Frank Marotte to get the Rush on the board, trailing 3-1 (Coulter and Ian Edmondson assisted). Then, with 51.9 seconds remaining, Peterson returned the favor and sprung Coulter on a break from the red line in. Coulter got behind the defense, and tucked the puck with a backhand-five hole maneuver to bring the Rush within striking distance at 3-2 (Peterson and Peter Quenneville assisted).
Allen pulled away from the Rush in the third period to officially end their eight-game point streak, starting with their Captain. At 7:01 of the third, Spencer Asuchak jumped in on a two-on-two rush into the Rush zone, and snuck behind the defense. While drawing a penalty, Asuchak got enough leverage to rifle a shot past Carlson, re-establishing their two-goal lead at 4-2 (Colby McAuley assisted). Corey Mackin, Allen’s leading scorer, put the final nail in the coffin on the last Rush power play of the game. With 1:59 left, Mackin finished a two-on-one break into the Rush zone on a McAuley pass to bring the game to its final score of 5-2 (McAuley and Dominic Cormier assisted).
Adam Carlson, and the Rush for that matter, suffered a regulation loss for the first time since March 5th against Greenville, stopping 30 of 35 Allen shots in the defeat (11-6-1-1).
The Rush conclude their three-game series against the Allen Americans with a rubber match tomorrow night. Puck drop for the series finale is slated for 6:05 p.m. MDT at the Allen Event Center.