RAPID CITY, SD — In another tightly played contest between the Rapid City Rush and Alaska Aces, this time it was the visitors that came out with a victory in their final game ever in the Black Hills. The Aces top the Rush 5-3 on Saturday night to split the weekend series.
The Aces would light the lamp first for the second night in a row, but we wouldn’t have to wait until the 3rd period to add that tally. With 3:31 remaining in the opening frame Tim Coffman was able to finish off a 2-on-1 play firing the puck under the blocker of Rush netminder Adam Morrison to give Alaska the 1-0 advantage.
Rapid City was able to square this contest back up at 10:34 of the middle frame. The captain, Ryan Walters, scored on a nifty backhand for his 27th goal of the season, beating Aces netminder Kevin Carr to even the game at 1-1.
The final 20 minutes of play would see an offensive explosion with a total of six goals being tallied between both clubs. The first four came within the first five minutes of the period.
Alaska regained their lead at the 2:02 mark with the goal being credited to Stephen Tarasuk who blasted a centering feed by Morrison to give the Aces a 2-1 lead. Rapid City would square the contest up again at 3:01 when Michael Cooper was able to power his way by the defender and rifle the puck by Carr to tie the game at 2-2. Not to be denied, Coffman found the back of the net for a second time in the game when he found himself on a breakaway and beat Morrison at the 3:32 mark. Coffman then etched the night’s lone powerplay goal, as well as getting a hat trick, at 4:13 when he fired a one-timer from the near face-off circle to give the visiting Aces a 4-2 lead.
Things were looking bleak for the home team as they were having difficulty solving Carr and breaking through the Aces’ defense. With time slipping away, Rush veteran defenseman Riley Weselowski pulled Rapid City within striking distance, blasting a wrister by Carr to pull his team within a 4-3 deficit with 2:14 left on the game clock.
Rapid City’s attempt to tie the game after pulling Morrison late for the extra-attacker didn’t work in their favor. Tarasuk sealed the win for the visiting Aces with an empty netter at 19:23 to preserve the win.
Kevin Carr is credited with the win, stopping 22-of-25 shots on the night while Adam Morrison suffers the loss stopping 29-of-33 shots faced.
Rapid City now hits the road for seven straight games, with their first coming on Wednesday against the Idaho Steelheads. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:10 pm MT.
Playoff Scenarios: Rapid City is once again 16 pts out of the final playoff spot with twelve games left on their schedule. Alaska also has one game in hand on the Rush, adding to their level of difficulty in securing that spot.