ANCHORAGE, AK — Max Nicastro and Mark Miller ignited the goal lamp twice for their club, but Sam Marotta stopped all 30 shots he saw, powering the Rapid City Rush to a 2-0 win over the Alaska Aces on Saturday night.
Both teams skated scoreless through the first 20 minutes of play, but just over the midway point of the second, the Rush broke the 0-0 deadlock. With 11:19 played in the middle frame, Mikhail Stefanovich was sprung on a breakaway by Sean Erickson, but was denied by Aces goaltender Lukas Hafner. Despite that, Stefanovich recovered his rebound and slung a pass to Max Nicastro, who sent a slap shot from the blue line by Hafner to push the Rush ahead 1-0 (Stefanovich and Erickson notched the assists).
Mark Miller continued his stellar week, adding to his growing point total with a second ignition of the goal lamp just 68 seconds into the second. Ryan Misiak pushed the puck up to Ryan Walters in neutral ice, and he left it for the oncoming Miller to take into Alaska zone. Miller turned on the jets, found a lane and took it, and sent a backhander over the shoulder of Hafner to double the Rush lead to 2-0 (Walters and Misiak registered the helpers). Marotta hung tough for the Rush, stopping a barrage of a third period from the Aces, who out-shot the Rush 10-3 in the final frame. Despite the high volume of shots, Marotta kept everything out of his net, and gave the Rush a 2-0 victory after 60 minutes.
Marotta’s second career shutout, and first with the Rush, makes him 4-2-2 in his last eight starts, and 7-11-2 on the season.
The Rush play the final five home games of the season at home, starting next Friday at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The April 1st contest, which marks “KISS Night”, is slated for a 7:05 p.m. MST puck drop against the Wichita Thunder.