WEST VALLEY CITY, UT — After Friday night’s game against the Utah Grizzlies was suspended to Sunday for player safety issues, the Rapid City Rush dug in their heels to earn “a night of firsts” win on Saturday night.
The goalies were the deciding factor in last night’s game as they held court between the pipes challenging the opposing teams’ shooters to beat them to the back of the net.
After a scoreless first period that saw the home team Grizzlies outshoot the Rush 12-to-9, it would be Utah’s Kyle Thomas that would break the tie, even after the Grizzlies had a penalty shot opportunity by Charley Graaskamp at the 6:41 mark. Grizzlies netminder Kevin Carr made a kick save sending the rebound out to neutral ice. Thomas secured the puck for a 2-on-1 break into the Rush defensive zone and fired a laser by Rush netminder Christian Frey at 11:40 to give Utah a 1-0 edge. They would take that lead into the 2nd intermission, outshooting Rapid City 23-to-15 over the first 40 minutes of regulation.
The Rush were finally able to break into the scoresheet at the 7:42 mark of the final frame when Pavel Jenys tallied his 12th goal of the season. Jenys took the feed from teammate Peter Sivak and rifled the puck by Carr to square the game at 1-1. Jenys’ 12 goals is a personal career best for goals in a season. Carr then helps set up the man-advantage for Rapid City when he is called for a delay of game penalty at 16:04 and the Rush take full advantage of the opportunity. Daniel Leavens finds Jack Walker on the backdoor who gets the go-ahead goal with 2:15 left in regulation, marking the first time the Rush have held the lead against the Grizzlies all season, and it would be enough. Utah pulled Carr with 1:05 left in regulation but Frey and the Rush defense held steady to preserve the 2-1 win.
The victory over Utah marks Rapid City’s first win over their division rivals this season, the first win of 2018, and Frey’s first professional win of his career.
Quite the way to start 2018.
Shots-on-goal favored Utah 33-to-26, but the powerplay stats go to Rapid City who went 1-for-6 while the Grizzlies went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Christian Frey stopped 32-of-33 shots in the win while Kevin Carr stopped 24-of-26 shots and took the loss on the night.
Both teams will continue their Friday night contest on Sunday afternoon with the puck drop scheduled for 1:00 pm MST at the Maverik Center. The game will start in the 2nd period with Utah holding a 3-1 advantage.