RAPID CITY, SD — The night started off with sheer enthusiasm for the home team celebrating the start of their 10th season. The night ended with the Allen Americans walking away with a dominating 8-3 victory over the Rapid City Rush.
The first five minutes of action were electric for the home team and things looked extremely promising. Then a trend from last season reared its ugly head; the opposition was able to get the night’s first tally.
Allen took the lead at 11:43 of the opening frame when the Americans secured the loose puck at the Rush blue line while shorthanded. Driving down the ice Casey Pierro-Zabotel was able to dish the puck at the last second to Jonathan Lessard who got the puck by Rush netminder Storm Phaneuf for the 1-0 advantage.
Rapid City responded moments later when Kyle Dutra scored on the rebound attempt from the wrap-around shot by Marcus Ortiz, getting the puck by Americans netminder Stephon Williams to square the game up 1-1 at 12:52.
It didn’t take long for Allen to regain the lead when Alex Schoenborn ripped a shot from the far faceoff circle sailing the puck by Phaneuf at 14:53 for the 2-1 lead. Zach Pochiro doubled the Americans lead at 17:25 when he sent the backhand shot to put Allen up 3-1 in the opening period.
The Rush narrowed the lead to one at 17:42 when Kenton Miller broke out some “Big Bang Theory” style physics shot off a bounce to pull the Rush within a single goal heading into the 1st intermission.
That would be as close as the Rush would get.
The Americans would net a pair of goals just over 90 seconds apart in the middle frame. The first came at 7:44 from Lessard which prompted a “changing of the guard” as Christian Frey came in to replace Phaneuf at 8:24. Then at 9:18, Pochiro gave the visiting Americans a 5-2 hold on the contest getting a shot by Frey. Olivier Archambault was able to extend the lead further when he deflected a shot from Mike Gunn at 12:07 to extend the lead to 6-2. The bleeding continued as Pierro-Zabotel banks in a Pochiro rebound in at 16:20 giving the Americans an improbable lead of 7-2. The Rush found a little bit of light with 20.7 seconds remaining when the puck came free, and Darik Angeli secured the three-inch piece of rubber and made his way by a defender to light the lamp and pull the Rush within four goals heading into the second intermission.
Allen would get the final tally of the night with 7:17 gone in the last frame, Joel Chouinard scored on a rebound in front to bring the final score to 8-3.
Stephon Williams takes the win, stopping 28-of-31 shots on the night. Storm Phaneuf suffers the loss stopping 7-of-11 shots faced in 28:24 of action. Christian Frey was able to stop 15-of-19 shots faced during his 31:36 of relief.
The Rush have a lot to learn after getting thrashed on home-ice, and they will need to do it quick as the Americans feel will be looking to close out the opening weekend series on a high note.
The puck drops in the second game of this weekend series on tonight at 7:05 pm MT at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.