RAPID CITY, SD — The first match-up between the Rapid City Rush and the Alaska Aces also pitted the top two teams of the West Division. Round one went to the visitors as the Aces remained on top after a 4-1 victory over the hometown team.
Alaska got on the board first recovering a loose puck near center ice and Stephen Perfetto drove down in a speedy breakaway going topshelf over Nic Riopel’s glove-side at 12:51 of the 1st period.
The Aces would double their lead in the middle frame as Perfetto scored his second of the night just 1:13 into the period, pushing the puck past a diving Riopel.
The bleeding continued less than four minutes later as Alaska tripled their lead at 5:03 when Ben Lake blasted a one-timer off the pipes and into the back of the net.
Rapid City didn’t give up, though, as they prevented the shutout at 12:02 of the middle frame scoring just seconds after Aces forward Tomasso Traversa went to the box for interference. Spencer Pommells took a quick dish from forward Zach Cohen and sent the puck over Aces netminder Troy Redmann’s shoulder to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The opportunities were there for the home team in the final frame but the puck just wouldn’t bounce their way. Alaska added the insurance empty-netter with just over 20 seconds left in the game to seal the win.
Nic Riopel did stop 25-of-28 shots on the night but with the loss he falls to 0-2-0 on the season.
The loss also drops the Rush to 3rd in the West Division with the Aces in 1st (9pts), the Grizzlies in 2nd (7pts), followed by Rapid City (6pts).
Both teams will face off again this afternoon but make sure to take note of the earlier-than-normal puck drop. The game is slated to start at 2pm MT at the Rushmore Plaza Center Ice Arena.