Tyler Coulter and Avery Peterson brought the Rapid City Rush within striking distance in the last two periods of the game, but the Utah Grizzlies, who marched out to a 3-0 lead thanks to Ryan Woods’ three-points, staved off their heated rivals to claim a 3-2 victory on Friday night. The game marked the first in a pair of weekend meetings, and the final leg of the Rush’s eight-game homestand.
Utah struck first late in the opening period on their second power play of the night: With 2:00 remaining in the first, a Riley Woods shot through traffic was originally stopped by Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck, but the rebound came to Trey Bradley on the doorstep. Bradley pocketed the loose change to give Utah an early 1-0 lead heading into the intermission (Woods and Pat Cannone assisted).
The Grizzlies only managed two shots in the first six minutes of the second period, but both were good enough for goals to extend their lead. Exactly 99 seconds into the second period, Hunter Skinner, making his pro debut for Utah, carried the puck from the red-line into the Rush zone on a two-on-one. He deferred to Woods, who rifled a shot over Tendeck’s shoulder to double Utah’s lead at 2-0 (Skinner earned his first pro point with the assist, while Matthew Boucher earned the other helper). Moments later, Skinner fired a blue line shot on net that deflected off of Trey Bradley and in, tripling Utah’s advantage to 3-0 at 5:55 of the second (Skinner and Woods assisted). Down, but not out, Tyler Coulter helped start a Rush rally in the closing moments of the second period. With 2:06 to go, Tendeck stopped a handful of point blank shots on his net, and in the ensuing chaos, Jack Suter kicked the puck up to Coulter. From there, Coulter took the puck from his own hashmarks and went coast-to-coast, finishing with a snipe over the shoulder of Utah goalie Brad Barone, cutting the deficit to 3-1 (Suter and Cedric Montminy assisted).
Trying to turn the spark into fire, the Rush capitalized on their final power play of the game to pull within striking distance. With 9:10 left in the game, Drew Callin collected a net-front rebound and played a cross-ice pass to a wide open Avery Peterson, who slammed a slap shot past Barone and into an open net to bring the Rush within one at 3-2 (Callin and Charlie Curti assisted). Pulling Tendeck for the extra-attacker, the Rush tried to hammer the Utah net with chance after chance, but Barone and the Grizzlies stood tall and held on for a 3-2 win.
Dave Tendeck stopped 26 of 29 shots, suffering the defeat (1-5-0-0).
The Rush conclude their eight-game home tomorrow night, January 23rd. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT. Tomorrow’s finale is our first-ever “Rodeo Night”, where we officially kick off the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo and Rodeo Rapid City by paying homage to the state sport of South Dakota. The Rush will wear specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game on Saturday, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation. For more information on the events surrounding the game, follow the link HERE.