ALLEN, TX — An offensive display from the Rapid City Rush powerplay wasn’t enough as the Allen Americans held on for a 5-3 victory Friday night.
It didn’t take long for the Americans to light the lamp, thanks in part to an early powerplay opportunity. Eric Roy finished off a cross-ice pass with a powerful one-timer by Rush netminder Storm Phaneuf just 1:42 into the game for the early 1-0 advantage. That score would hold true going into the 1st intermission as both netminders would shut down the remaining scoring chances, even as Allen outshot the Rush 11-to-7 in the opening frame.
The hometown Americans would rack up a pair of quick goals just before the midway point of the middle frame, putting the Rush in a deeper hole in the stat sheet. The first came at 6:19 when Daniel Leavens took a centering pass and five-holed it by Phaneuf to double the lead at 2-0. Just 48 seconds later Casey Pierro-Zabotel was able to stick-handle the puck around an extended Phaneuf and banked the puck off the post and into the goal at 7:07 to give Allen a 3-0 lead. Rapid City finally ignited the goal lamp with 29.7 seconds remaining in the period. Dante Salituro grabbed a centering pass and zipped the puck by Americans netminder Stephon Williams to pull within two goals of the home team heading into the 2nd intermission.
Rapid City made the game lively in the final frame. Darian Dziurzynski fired a point-blank shot just 2:25 into the 3rd period, his first goal in a Rush uniform, to pull Rapid City within a single goal. But a small miscue moments later would let Allen regain the two-score advantage. Phaneuf tried to play the puck on an oncoming Colby McAuley, but he was able to avoid the stick check and gets around the Rush netminder to tap the puck in for the team’s fourth goal of the night at 4:59 of the period. Evan Janssen is able to get the Rush back within striking distance with 8:57 left in the game, powering by the Americans netminder to drive home the powerplay goal, cutting Allen’s lead to 4-3. Rapid City had a prime opportunity to tie the game up as they went on the power play with 2:36 remaining in regulation and pulled Phaneuf for the 6-4 advantage. Williams seemed to have an answer for every scoring attempt Then shortly after coming out of the penalty box Bryan Moore took the feed and scored on the empty net to put the nail in the coffin.
Stephon Williams is credited with the win stopping 32-of-35 shots on the night while Storm Phaneuf suffers the loss stopping 34-of-38 shots.
Both teams will square off again Saturday night at the Allen Events Center with puck drop scheduled for 6:05 pm MT.