FORT WAYNE, IN — A late goal gave the Rapid City Rush life but the Fort Wayne Komets held on to preserve the 4-3 win Friday night.
The Komets jumped to an early lead in the opening frame, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes while out-shooting the visitors from the Black Hills 16-11. Gabriel Desjardins notched his 11th goal on the season at 2:24 when he fired a one-timer by Rush netminder, Adam Morrison for the 1-0 lead. Mike Embach doubled the lead just moments later on the man-advantage with Lindsay Sparks in the box for a slashing minor. Just 13 seconds into the power play, Embach was able to deflect the puck by Morrison for the goal at 4:28 and a 2-0 advantage.
The Komets kept their foot on the gas heading into the middle frame with their second power play goal of the night. Jamie Schaafsma was able to tap in a handy backdoor shot by Morrison at 12:35 to give Fort Wayne a 3-0 advantage.
Rapid City was down but definitely not out. Mark Cooper gave the Rush life when he snuck the loose puck by Komets netminder, Pat Nagle to cut the deficit to 3-1 at 13:39 of the middle frame.
The Rush were able to pull within a single goal at 6:41 of the 3rd period when Hunter Fejes made an immediate impact upon his return from the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. Fejes notched his 6th goal of the season on the penalty kill when he took the feed from Michael Young and placed a backhander by Nagle to make it a 3-2 contest.
Embach was able to counter for Fort Wayne at 12:43, however, and make it a 4-2 contest when he took an errant turnover and fired a wrister by Morrison.
Rapid City pulled Morrison late for the extra-attacker and Ryan Walters was able to cash in and send a rebound shot by Nagle with 57.2 seconds remaining in the game to make it a 4-3 contest. Fort Wayne was able to stake off another late offensive surge by the Rush with the man-advantage to kill their late rally and hold on for a 4-3 win.
Nagle gets the win stopping 34-of-37 Rapid City shots on the night while Morrison suffers the loss stopping 44-of-48 Fort Wayne shots in the contest.
Rapid City will wrap up their road trip tonight against the Quad City Mallards at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois. Puck drop is slated for 6:05pm MT.
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