Hunter Garlent and Stephen Baylis connected on the first and last goals of the game, and with their 5 combined points paired with Gordy Defiel’s 34 saves, lifted the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 win over the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday afternoon. The win gives the Rush the weekend series with wins on Saturday and Sunday, and back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
The Oilers outshot the Rush 12-4 in the first 12 minutes of the game, but the Rush turned the tide in the final eight minutes, outshooting Tulsa 6-1 in that time. Two of those six shots came from Stephen Baylis and Hunter Garlent, who connected to get the Rush on the board first. With 3:31 left in the first, Baylis navigated a sea of humanity through the neutral zone, and went wide with a shot in the Oilers third. Tulsa goaltender Roman Durny stopped his attempt, but produced a rebound for Garlent, who buried his shot to give the Rush a 1-0 lead with his first of the season (Baylis had the lone assist).
Garlent’s hand continued to heat up when he found Gabriel Chabot for the second goal of the contest. With 90 seconds gone by in the second, Garlent found Chabot point blank in front of the crease, with the latter shoveling the puck past Durny to extend the Rush lead to 2-0 (Garlent had the lone assist). However, the Oilers sprung back into the game, led by a pair of goals from Brent Gates Jr. Gates’ first goal came at 6:06 in a crazy bout of transition hockey, starting with an odd-man break from the Rush. After the Rush’s three-on-one wasn’t converted, Tulsa marched back down the ice with Gates in tow. Gates delayed in the high slot and rifled a shot past Rush net-minder Gordy Defiel, cutting Tulsa’s deficit to 2-1 (Bryce Kindopp and Roman Durny assisted). Moments later, on Tulsa’s second power play of the game, Gates took time and space into the right wing faceoff circle and fired a shot just inside the far post to square the game at 2-2 with 4:31 left in the second period (Austin McEneny and Kyle Jenkins assisted). Despite Tulsa’s momentum, the Rush charged right back to re-take the lead in the next shift. Exactly 26 seconds later, Ian Edmondson fired a shot from the blue line that Baylis deflected by Durny in point-blank range, vaulting the Rush back to a 3-2 lead (Edmondson and Garlent assisted).
Tulsa tried to hammer Defiel and the Rush net, but he stood tall, especially on back-to-back penalty kills. One of them produced probably the save of the year when Defiel robbed Oilers Captain Adam Pleskach on a rebound shot just outside of his crease to keep the Rush in the driver’s seat. All said and done, Defiel stoned the Oilers for the remainder of the game, powering the Rush to a 3-2 win.
Gordy Defiel earned his first win of the season, stopping 34 of 36 shots to give the Rush back-to-back wins for the first time this season (1-1-0-0).
The Rush conclude their eight-game home stand with a pair of matchups against the Utah Grizzlies this Friday and Saturday, January 22nd and 23rd. Puck drop for both games is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT. Saturday’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.