RAPID CITY, SD — For 60 minutes the Reading Royals and Rapid City Rush battled and dug deep between every whistle but in the end the Eastern Conference visitors topped Rapid City 5-3 and got the weekend sweep.
Reading would again find the back of the net first in tonight’s contest with Kevin Sundher finding two goals in the opening frame. His first came at 9:21 when he took the puck off a face-off pass and blasted the shot by Chuck Grant up high. Sundher’s second goal came at 16:30 of the same frame with a mad scramble for the puck in front of the Rush goal and Kevin was able to pot the goal by Grant who was out of position to make the save.
Rapid City would cut into the lead in the middle frame when Ryan Walters gets a dish off to Josh MacDonald whose shot was stopped but Lindsay Sparks would put in the rebound at 12:39 to add to his league-leading point/goal totals on the season.
Reading would answer back with 2:45 left in the period when Ryan Penny took a near-corner pass from Michael Pelech and buried the puck to put the Royals back up 3-1.
Facing a two-goal deficit heading into the final 20 minutes of play, the Rush new they’d have to dig out deep to pull out a victory.
Anthony Collins would provide a spark.
Collins would score his first goal of the season when he got a key deflection at 4:52 in the third period to pull Rapid City to within 3-2.
Reading wouldn’t back down, however, as Chris McCarthy took advantage of a breakdown in their own zone by the Rush and fed the puck to Olivier LaBelle who dished the puck to Mike Pereira who slammed the puck home on the wide-open net for a 4-2 lead with 10:39 left in the game.
Moments later Josh MacDonald would pocket his fifth goal of the season when he took a hard wrist shot from the near face-off circle to drive the puck by Royals netminder Mark Dekanich with 6:43 left in the game.
The momentum was beginning to swing in favor of Rapid City.
The Royals didn’t want to give the home team any hope and quickly put a nail in the coffin at 15:15. The Rush were on the man-advantage for a minor slashing penalty by Derik Johnson at 14:51 but a miscue allowed Todd Perry to find himself all alone with the puck and he was able to beat Grant for the final tally of the night.
Mark Dekanich takes the win stopping 33-of-36 shots on the night while Chuck Grant takes the loss stopping 24-of-29 shots on net.
The Rush next have a home-and-home series against the Colorado Eagles next weekend before embarking on a three-game road trip the following weekend.