Avery Peterson, and Peter and David Quenneville’s two-point performances gave the Rapid City Rush a lead heading into the third period, but a tough night on special teams led by Travis Barron’s four goals, three of which accounted for the Utah Grizzlies four shorthanded tallies, vaulted the home side to a 5-3 win on Tuesday night. Despite the loss, the Rush still maintain a lead over Utah for the fourth and final playoff spot, with the Rush now sporting a .544% versus Utah’s .527% with 15 games remaining in the season.
Peter Quenneville provided the only tally of the opening period, giving the Rush the lead after one frame. His goal came at 10:55 after he dislodged a puck from a pile that was scooped by Kevin Spinozzi. Spinozzi banked it to his brother, David, who was at the blue line. David fired a shot that was stopped by Utah goalie Parker Gahagen, but Peter pocketed the rebound to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (D. Quenneville and Spinozzi assisted).
Utah showed life in the second period on the opposite side of special teams, but the Rush still maintained a lead entering the final period. For the first of a near improbable four shorthanded goals, Ty Lewis got the Grizzlies on the board on a two-on-one breakaway during the second Rush power play, rifling a shot past Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:26 left in the second (Trey Bradley and Luke Bafia assisted). However, on the same power play, Avery Peterson countered 26 seconds later to re-establish the Rush lead at 2-1 with 6:00 remaining (David Quenneville and Tyler Coulter assisted). The next Rush power play, Travis Barron scored his first of four goals on another odd-man chance, unleashing a laser of Tendeck’s shoulder to square the game back at 2-2 with a second Utah shorthanded goal with 3:42 left in the second (the goal was unassisted). Not to be outdone, Charlie Curti struck from the blue line with 14 seconds remaining in the second to push the Rush to a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play (Avery Peterson and Peter Quenneville assisted).
The third period was all Travis Barron, who near singlehandedly lifted the Grizzlies to their series opening win. Barron’s second shorthanded goal, his team’s third, came on another two on one, burying an A.J. White rebound off of Tendeck to square the game at 3-3 at 8:08 of the third (White had the lone assist). Changing it up a bit, Barron finished off his hat trick with Utah’s only power play goal of the game, banging home a net-front rebound off of a catastrophic sequence in front of the Rush net to give the Grizzlies a 4-3 advantage with 6:53 left in the game (Cedric Pare and Charlie Gerard assisted). Closing out his monumental night, Barron slipped a shot through a Rush defender and into an empty net in the final minute on the final Rush power play of the game for an unprecedented third shorthanded goal, and his team’s fourth, to bring the final score to 5-3 in Utah’s favor (Bradley and Parker Gahagen assisted).
Dave Tendeck suffered a loss for the first time since February 10th against Tulsa, stopping 30 of 34 shots on net (8-9-0-0).
The Rush continue their seven-game road trip, with three more games in the next four nights against Utah. Puck drop for the rematch tomorrow on Wednesday, May 5th, and the final two games on Friday, May 7th, and Saturday, May 8th, is slated for 7:10 p.m. MDT.