ANCHORAGE, AK — Still fighting for their playoff lives, the Rapid City Rush pull out another victory over the Alaska Aces, winning 5-2 on Saturday night.
Both teams would skate to a scoreless tie during the first 20 minutes of action with the home team having an 18-to-5 advantage in shots on goal.
For the second night in a row, however, the Rush would get the night’s first tally and it would once again come from a rookie. Geoff Fortman took the feed from captain Ryan Walters and fired a shot from the blue line past Aces netminder Kevin Carr to give Rapid City a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the middle frame. Alaska would square the contest up at 6:55 when Daniel Moynihan took a sharp angle shot by Rush netminder Luke Siemens to make it a 1-1 game. Rapid City would jump back on top just over seven minutes later when Mike Monfredo took a shot on net that seemed to bounce off Carr’s shoulder at 14:19 to give the visitor’s a 2-1 lead they would take into the 2nd intermission.
Into the final frame of regulation the Rush held a 2-1 lead for the second night in a row. Marcus Ortiz was able to pocket his first professional goal at 10:18 when he secured the loose puck and took a nifty backhand shot on Carr to give Rapid City a 3-1 advantage. The game got interesting when Yan-Pavel Laplante poked a rebound shot by Siemens while on the man advantage to pull the Aces within 3-2 at 17:07. Rapid City would jump back to a 2-goal advantage at 18:52 when Hunter Fejes secured his 15th goal of the season.
But Fejes wasn’t done.
He saw an open opportunity late in the game for an empty net goal and was hauled down on the attempt just as time expired. Due to league regulations Fejes was awarded the goal at 19:59 that gave the Rush a 5-2 victory over the Aces.
The Aces greatly out shot the Rush 45-to-22 but Luke Siemens was phenomenal between the pipes to allow the Rush the offensive chances they needed to secure the win in regulation.
Siemens is credited with the win stopping 43-of-45 shots on the night while Kevin Carr takes the loss stopping 16-of-19 shots. Drew O’Connell was able to stop one of the two shots he faced tonight for the Aces as well. With the loss, the Aces fell to 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and have lost 10 straight at home (0-8-2).
With the win the Rush has secured the weekend series, but look to go for the clean sweep this afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:05pm MT as Rapid City plays its final game in Anchorage.
Playoff Scenarios: The final playoff spot is currently occupied by the Aces and Mavs with 70 points and both teams each have one game in hand over the Rush. Utah is a single point behind both teams with six games left on its schedule. If any of these three teams eclipses 70 points then Rapid City will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Other Notes: After the game had concluded and the team was headed off the ice, Aces head coach Rob Murray ventured into the stands to confront a fan. Here is video of the incident, shot by Devin DiNardo:
We will await to see what the ECHL rules on the incident.