LOVELAND, CO — The Rapid City Rush held the lead heading into the 3rd period Friday night but the defending Kelly Cup Champ Colorado Eagles pulled away in an intense final period for the 4-2 victory.
Similar to Wednesday night’s contest the first twenty minutes of regulation went without a single tally as the netminders and defenses held strong. Colorado held an 11-to-7 edge in shots-on-goal and the Eagles getting the lone powerplay opportunity.
Rapid City was able to bookend the middle frame with a pair of goals to open and close the period, both coming from Peter Sivak who tallied his 8th and 9th goals of the season respectively. His first goal came at 5:30 off a scramble in front of the Eagles net and pokes it by Eagles netminder Joe Cannata. Sivak doubled the Rush advantage with 1:04 remaining took the puck off the bar and into the back of the net. It looked as though Rapid City would take that 2-0 edge into the 2nd intermission until Jake Marto came streaking through the neutral zone and rifled the puck over the shoulder of Rush netminder Adam Vay with 50 seconds left in the frame to cut the Rush lead in half.
Colorado would continue that momentum into the final 20 minutes of regulation with the league-leading scorer Michael Joly notching a pair of goals to give the home team their first lead of the night. His first goal came at 3:01 of the frame to square the game up at 2-all. Joly tallied his 29th goal of the season just 1:55 later to give the Colorado Eagles a 3-2 edge with 15:04 left in regulation. Things seemed to break down from there as each team’s respective penalty box filled up fast due to scraps between various players. Then with 13:00 left to play J.C. Beaudin put the nail in the coffin on a powerplay opportunity, shoveling the puck by Vay for the eventual 4-2 final score. Rapid City had their chances late in the period, even after pulling Vay with 2:21 left in regulation, but Cannata and the Eagles D stood tall to prevent a Rush rally.
Colorado held the advantage in shots-on-goal over Rapid City 32-to-25 and scored the lone powerplay goal on their four opportunities while the Rush was held in check on their two chances with the man advantage.
Joe Cannata is credited with the win stopping 23-of-25 shots on the night while Adam Vay takes the loss stopping 28-of-32 shots.
The loss also ends the Rush point streak at four games (2-0-2). Both teams will close out the 3-game series tonight at the Budweiser Events Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm MT.