WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH — The Rapid City Rush jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but the Utah Grizzlies managed to rally back to sweep weekend series, topping their division foe 3-2 in regulation.
On the stat sheet, the first period was scoreless, though a shorthanded goal by Ryan Walters was waived off with under five minutes to play. Walters kicked the puck to his stick before getting the puck by Utah’s netminder Ryan McKay. The officials, however, determined the puck was kicked into the net and denied the goal.
Rapid City would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the middle frame. Their first goal came from Nick Miglio who took a clean back-hander from Walters just 2:53 into the period. Josh MacDonald would double the visitor’s lead at 5:17 took the feed from Garrett Haar before going top shelf and the Rush seemed to have everything working in their favor at this point.
Utah wouldn’t come away empty handy in the period as they got on the stat sheet with a late goal at 16:45 when Erik Higby deflected a shot from Johnny McInnis by Rush netminder Adam Morrison to make it a 2-1 contest.
The period would end with a late penalty from a fight between Brayden Low and Travis Howe, both getting five minute majors and Low also getting a two minute minor for roughing.
This would give Utah the man advantage to start the 3rd period and they used it to their advantage as Mathieu Aubin slapped the puck from the far face-off circle that sliced over Morrison’s at 1:18 to tie the game 2-2.
Halfway through the period Utah was forced to change out their netminder when McKay took a slapshot to the face that brought in Jay Stevens in relief. Stevens was able to stop all seven shots he faced before Utah brought McKay back in to finish out the contest.
Higby found his second goal of the night, and the game winner, late at 19:19 when he fired a rebound attempt by Morrison for the 3-2 advantage. Rapid City was not able to respond before the final horn and would only secure one of four possible points against Utah.
Ryan McKay is credited with the win, stopping 13 of 15 shots (Jay Stevens stopped all seven shots faced in relief). Adam Morrison takes the loss, stopping 29-of-32 shots faced on the night.
Rapid City will complete their road trip with a three-game series at Idaho on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Puck drop for all three contests is slated for 7:10pm MT.
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