BOISE, ID — The season series between the Idaho Steelheads and Rapid City Rush concluded Saturday night with the home team taking the rubber match by a final tally of 5-3.
Idaho would waste no time in getting on the score sheet after last night’s close loss. Andre Bouvet-Morrissette was able to take a centering pass from Joe Basaraba after the Rush were unable to clear the puck from their defensive zone and fired a shot by Rush netminder Austin Lotz for the 1-0 just 72 seconds into the game.
Lotz was able to stop the other 19 shots he faced during the first 20 minutes to keep the game close at 1-0 heading into the 1st intermission.
The Rush were not so lucky during the first half of the middle frame.
Rob Linsmayer gets on the score sheet again in this series when he goes top-shelf against Lotz at 6:19 to give Idaho a 2-0 advantage. But he didn’t stop there as a mere 35 seconds later Linsmayer would light the lamp again when he pockets a rebound shot by Lotz for his 16th goal on the season and a 3-0 lead for the home team. Idaho then adds a controversial goal when it appeared the Steelheads had too many men on the ice but the officiating crew didn’t catch this oversight. Jefferson Dahl takes a cross-ice pass from Linsmayer and gets the puck by Lotz for the 4-0 advantage and it looks like Idaho is going to quickly run away with this game. Rapid City does get a bit of life when Christian Horn scores his 2nd goal of the season beating Steelheads netminder Branden Komm top-shelf from the short side at 19:28 to make it a 4-1 game heading into the 2nd intermission.
Mark Cooper was able to keep the rally alive early in the 3rd period as he was able to hack the puck by Komm at 1:27 to make it a 4-2 game. With 3:22 remaining the Rush get a gift by way of a deflection from Triston Grant past Komm to make it a 4-3 game and suddenly the visitors believe they can still turn the tides.
The Rush had a chance late with an offensive zone puck drop and won the draw but turned the puck over and Jefferson Dahl fired a shot down the rink for the empty net tally and the 5-3 final with just 15 seconds left in the game.
Branden Komm takes the win stopping 28-of-31 shots faced while Austin Lotz suffers the loss stopping 41-of-45 shots faced during regulation.
With the win Idaho has now won 9-of-13 games against Rapid City and has virtually dominated this series.
The Rush next travel to Colorado for a mid-week game on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.
Playoff Scenarios: Rapid City’s loss in regulation coupled with Alaska’s shootout loss to Cincinnati puts the Rush 16 points out of the final playoff spot with 9 games remaining in the regular season. Utah and Missouri are hot on the Aces heels behind by five and six points respectively, with the Mavs even having a game in hand over the Aces.
The miraculous playoff run for the Rush will most likely fall short as a couple more wins by Alaska will eliminate them from contention.