RAPID CITY, SD — A low scoring 40 minutes quickly turned into an intense final frame that saw the Colorado Eagles top the Rapid City Rush 5-3 and sweep the preseason series Saturday night.
The visiting Eagles were the first to light the lamp again tonight. While on the man advantage Michael Joly took a cross-ice pass and used a nifty backdoor one-timer past Rush netminder Christian Frey just 0:58 into the contest for the early 1-0 lead. Rapid City would square things back up just over 60 seconds later when Marcus Ortiz deflected a shot by Logan Nelson by Eagles netminder Joe Cannata at 2:04 making it a 1-1 game. Colorado would regain the lead at the 11:33 mark when Matt Garbowsky finished off a textbook pass play with a backdoor shot putting the Eagles back on top 2-1.
That score would hold true through the middle frame as each netminder stood tall against a handful of impressive scoring opportunities.
Tensions flared before the opening face-off to the third period with a total of 12 penalties being handed out between the two teams that contributed to the combined 153 penalty minutes during regulation.
The red lamp would not be silenced in the final 20 minutes, either, as a total of five goals between both clubs would be added to the tally sheet.
Rapid City’s special teams took advantage of the opportunity when Riley Weselowski fired a slapshot by Cannata to square the game up 2-2 just 0:13 into the frame. Still on the powerplay, Ryan Tesink found the back of the net at 0:46 off a rebound shot to give the Rush a 3-2 lead. Colorado didn’t let that rattle their cage, though, and battled back to tie the game off a shorthanded goal from Joly at 4:11. The Eagles’ special teams then retook the lead at 7:57 when Drayson Bowman hit the puck off the post and into the back of the net for the 4-3 lead. Rapid City pulled Frey late in the game and the Eagles were able to cash-in with Garbowsky picking up his second goal of the night on the empty-netter at 17:57 for the eventual 5-3 final.
Joe Cannata gets the win stopping 20-of-23 shots on the night while Christian Frey takes the loss stopping 17-of-21 shots faced.
The sweep marks the third straight season that the rivals from Colorado have swept the Rush in the preseason.
Rapid City will open their regular season on Friday, October 13th, against the Allen Americans for a two-game weekend series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.