BOISE, ID — Every goal by the Idaho Steelheads was matched by the visiting Rapid City Rush in another tight contest. It was the lone powerplay goal in the third period that lifted the Rush to a 4-3 win on Friday night, evening the series against the Steelheads.
Each team posted a pair of back-and-forth goals in the opening frame with the home team lighting the goal lamp first.
Rob Linsmayer got the night’s first tally just 3:48 into the game when he powered a rebound shot by an outstretched Rush netminder Adam Morrison to give Idaho a 1-0 lead. It wasn’t until midway through the opening period that Rapid City was able to respond. Logan Nelson pocketed the first of his two goals on the night at 9:53 when he sent the puck from the far wall by Steelheads netminder Branden Komm to square the game at 1-1. The game wouldn’t stay knotted-up for long, though, as Idaho responded just 26 seconds later. Anthony Luciani put the home team back on top at 10:19 he took the puck from Brian Nugent deep in the Rush zone and slipped it by Morrison for the 2-1 lead. Nelson was able to tie the game up once more at 12:21 with another shot from the far wall that tipped off Komm’s glove tying the game 2-2.
Another goal exchange took place halfway through the middle frame.
Idaho jumped back on top at 11:51 of the second period when Luciani pocketed his second goal of the night, and 27th of the season, when he buried the puck by Morrison. Rapid City quickly responded at 12:50, however, when Hunter Fejes got 13th goal of the season scoring on a screen to Komm to square the game 3-3.
Rapid City would break the eventual deadlock, and get their first lead of the night, at 7:21 of the third period. Rapid City was on a powerplay for only the second time in the game and Ryan Misiak took the feed from captain Ryan Walters and blasted the puck by Komm for the eventual 4-3 game winner.
Idaho did pull Komm late in the game but the Rush were able to hold off their 6-on-5 advantage to get a clean two points in the standings.
Morrison takes the win stopping 34-of-37 shots on the night, including a penalty shot from Brian Nugent in the 1st period. Komm takes the loss stopping 17-of-21 shots on the night.
Both teams will square off for the final time this season on Saturday night. Puck drop for the rubber match is scheduled for 7:10pm MT.
Playoff Scenarios: With Rapid City’s regulation win and Alaska losing in regulation to the Cyclones, the Rush are now 15 points out of the final playoff spot with 10 games remaining for both teams. Utah and Missouri are both on Alaska’s heels as well, each just a handful of points behind the Aces and in a much better position to claim that fourth playoff spot in the Mountain Division.