For the first time ever, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Rapid City Rush, both constituents of Spire Hockey, met on the same sheet of ice. In the most offensively potent game of the season between both squads, Greenville won a back-and-forth game by a 8-5 score on Friday night.
The Swamp Rabbits jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Jake Massie struck first for Greenville when he capitalized on a turnover down the slot and rifled a shot off the bar and in past Rush net-minder Adam Carlson, giving the Swamp Rabbits an early 1-0 lead at 2:36 of the contest (the goal was unassisted). Moments later, the Swamp Rabbits capitalized on back-to-back power plays, beginning with Liam Pecararo with 7:37 left in the first, rifling a shot from the left wing under Carlson’s blocker to make it 2-0 (Sam Jardine and Matt Bradley assisted). Karch Bachman extended the lead to 3-0 on the next power play with 2:17 left in the opening period, scoring right down the main drive of the Rush zone with a shot through a screen (Joey Haddad and Alec Rauhauser assisted).
The Rush and Swamp Rabbits exchanged blows in the second period, with the former opening the scoring entries earlier in the frame. At 3:21 of the second, Avery Peterson was the beneficiary of a Butrus Ghafari rebound, slipping it through the five-hole of Greenville goaltender Ryan Bednard to cut the deficit and get the Rush on the board, trailing 3-1 (Ghafari and Tyler Coulter assisted). Just over five minutes later, however, Shawn Cameron took a turnover from the far side of the Rush zone, crept in and fired a shot past Carlson’s glove to re-establish the three-goal lead at 8:24 of the second with Greenville leading 4-1 (the goal was unassisted). That prompted the removal of Adam Carlson from the Rush net, replaced by Gordy Defiel. Just 46 seconds after the goalie swap, the Rush counterattacked. At 9:10 of the second, Hunter Garlent found Eric Israel bee-lining off the blue line for a shot that was denied by Bednard. However, it produced a rebound, pocketed by Andrew Sturtz to slice the Rush disadvantage to 4-2 (Israel and Garlent assisted). Moments later, Kevin Spinozzi brought the Rush within striking distance on the team’s first power play of the game. With 6:14 left in the second, Stephen Baylis and Andrew Sturtz kicked the puck into an open area of the Greenville zone, which was rapidly approached by Spinozzi. Spinozzi went full wind-up and full blast with a slapshot that whizzed by Bednard, bringing the score to 4-3 Greenville (Sturtz and Baylis assisted). However, Greenville punched back and got the last word of the frame in the final minutes. With 2:17 left in the second, Karch Bachman collected the puck from his own zone, zipped up the ice, and backhanded a shot over Defiel and just under the bar to re-establish the Swamp Rabbits multi-goal lead at 5-3 (Anthony Rinaldi and Alec Rauhauser assisted).
Greenville jumped even further ahead within the opening minute of the final frame, slowly pulling away from the Rush. Exactly 27 seconds in, Greenville Captain Joey Haddad collected a pass through neutral ice, blew by a bad Rush defensive pinch, and came into the Rush zone uncontested. Haddad slipped the puck past Defiel for his 200th career goal and a 6-3 Swamp Rabbits lead (Jack Sadek and Shawn Cameron assisted). However, exactly 59 seconds later, Mike Hedden cut the deficit again. After Cedric Montminy’s close quarter attempt was slowed down by Bednard and left alone in the crease, Hedden came over and slammed the puck into the awning net, making it a 6-4 Greenville lead with 1:26 gone by in the third (Montminy had the lone assist). The game of cat-and-mouse continued, and it was Garrett Thompson vaulting Greenville back to a three-goal lead 1:08 later. With 2:34 played, Thompson carried the puck in the Rush zone, toe-dragged by a defender, and backhanded a shot past Defiel to make it 7-4 Swamp Rabbits (both of the Poehling twins assisted). Then at 8:30, Max Zimmer tucked a loose puck in the Rush crease to make it 8-4, prompting the removal of Defiel from the Rush net and the return of Adam Carlson to close out the game in goal (Haddad and Rauhauser assisted). The Rush got the last word on their final power play of the game with 6:40 left in the contest, with Peter Quenneville blasting a one-timer past Bednard to bring the game to its eventual final score of 8-5 (Ian Edmondson and Tyler Coulter assisted).
Gordy Defiel, coming in relief for 20:06 of the contest, suffered the loss while stopping 8 of 12 shots (3-4-1-0). Adam Carlson originally started the game and was removed at 28:24, then reinserted for the final 11:30 for a total of 39:54 playing time. He stopped 20 of 24 shots in the effort.
The Rush continue their eight-game homestand and “three-in-three” against Greenville, with the rematch coming tomorrow night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena. Tomorrow’s rematch is the team’s annual “First Responders Night”, presented by Loyal Plumbing. Help us recognize all firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and so many more individuals that tirelessly work and sacrifice help keep our community of Rapid City safe and healthy!