RAPID CITY, SD — The Rapid City Rush started a three-game series against the Idaho Steelheads Wednesday night. After a defensive first period the offenses flexed their muscle in a back-and-forth contest with the home team coming out on top 7-4.
Rush netminder Adam Morrison and Steelheads netminder Branden Komm stonewalled their respective opposition during the first 20 minutes of play as they stopped a combined 22 shots to keep the game scoreless. At the end of the first period, the teams combined for 88 minutes in penalties in a line brawl that featured Anthony Luciani, Corbin Baldwin, and Rob Linsmayer for Idaho; Ryan Walters, Terrance Wallin, and Justin Hache for the Rush.
Over half of the 2nd period stat sheet was still without a single goal until Brett Perlini put Rapid City on the board at 14:11. Perlini found himself along the low slot and played pinball with the puck as his shot bounced off a couple bodies before getting by Komm.
Idaho quickly responded at 15:18 when Kellan Lain found the puck off a deflection and blasted it by Morrison. Less than 20 seconds after the tying goal Idaho would take their first lead of the game at 15:35 when Joe Basaraba‘s shot squeaked into the back of the net giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.
That lead would only last until 2:08 of the 3rd period when Ryan Walters scores off the deflection just three seconds into their first power play opportunity of the frame.
The final half of the third period would see a total of seven goals scored between both clubs with five of those going to the home team.
Idaho regained the lead at 10:33 with a goal from Kyle Jean, when he batted the puck out of the air and Morrison couldn’t snag it in time.
The Rush would again tie the game 17 seconds later when Terrance Wallin scored the second power play goal on the night for Rapid City, this one just nine seconds into the man advantage. Michael Young put the home team back on top when he took a rebound off Komm and sent the puck behind the netminder at 11:35.
Another quick response from the visitors, though, as Basaraba gets his second goal of the night at 12:49 to square the game up 4-4.
The Rush weren’t about to have another late game meltdown.
Josh MacDonald snagged the puck on a turnover and quickly found the back of the net unassisted at 15:18, his 14th of the year. Walters padded the Rush lead at 17:20 as he and MacDonald had a 2-on-1 advantage to give Rapid City a 6-4 lead. Ryan Misiak closed any doubt that Rapid City would get the two points with the empty-net net goal at 19:08 for the final 7-4 “WaTiki Win” for Rapid City.
Adam Morrison gets the win stopping 28-of-32 shots on the night while Branden Komm takes the loss stopping 24-of-30 shots he faced.
Both teams will square off again on Friday night for “Round 2” of this three round bout to close out 2016. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.