RAPID CITY, SD — The Rapid City Rush played host to the defending Kelly Cup Champions, the Allen Americans, for the first time since their Central Division Finals series earlier this year.
A few key bounces of the puck helped lift the Americans to a 4-1 victory over the Rush to start their 2-game weekend series.
Allen got on the board early when JP LaFontaine lit the lamp at 4:57 of the 1st period during a 3-on-2 advantage and found the crease past Rush netminder Danny Battochio with the puck deflecting off Sean Erickson’s stick.
The Americans would double their lead in the middle frame with 7-seconds left on the powerplay at 6:01 as the Rush couldn’t clear the puck and Aaron Gens got a solid one-timer to ring off the post then Battochio’s blocker before sneaking into the goal.
Still in the 2nd period Rapid City cut into the deficit when Michael Bunting scored his first professional goal at 15:33 during 4-on-4 hockey as his shot was deflected by Americans netminder Joel Rumpel.
The Rush had additional scoring chances to tie the game up that went just wide.
Feeling the pressure from the home team the Americans were able to reclaim their 2-goal lead at 8:33 of the 3rd when Stevenson scored on the backhand just after Rapid City PK unit cleared another powerplay for the visitors.
Rapid City would pull Battochio for the extra attacker late in the game but were unable to capitalize as Allen iced the contest at 19:07 with the empty netter from Greger Hanson.
The same teams will square-off again tonight night with puck drop scheduled for 7:05pm MT.