RAPID CITY, SD — Philippe Desrosiers brought his A-game last night, stopping all 21-shots he faced, and a powerplay goal from Will Merchant in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Idaho Steelheads blanked the Rapid City Rush 3-0 Saturday night to take the three-game weekend series.
The first period was scoreless, deadlocked with 10 shots-on-goal by both teams, along with a handful of powerplay opportunities that neither team could take advantage of.
Moving on to the middle frame the Steelheads would break into the tally sheet at the 8:12 mark. Mere seconds into a slashing penalty by Riley Weselowski, Joe Faust rifled a shot on net that appeared to be stopped by the facemask of Christian Frey. Merchant scooped up the loose puck and pocketed the powerplay goal to give the Steelheads the 1-0 edge. Later in the period, Max French would double the visiting team’s lead at 14:37 when secured the rebound shot by Frey. After 40 minutes of play the Steelheads had a 2-0 lead and were outshooting the Rush 28-to-17.
The tempo was still in the visiting team’s favor during the final period of regulation. The Rush were having trouble solving Desrosiers and lighting the goal lamp. Late in the period, the Steelheads were called for a slashing minor at 16:44 and Rapid City took advantage by pulling Frey to have a 6-on-4 advantage for the next two minutes. But, it did not work in their favor as Steven McParland was able to secure an empty net shorthanded goal at 18:18 for the eventual 3-0 final.
The Steelheads completely dominated the stat sheet after the opening period, finishing with 39 shots-on-goal to Rapid City’s 21. Special teams went 1-for-3 for Idaho while the Rush were blanked on all six opportunities.
Desrosiers got with the win, stopping all 21 shots faced and securing his third shutout in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center while Christian Frey takes the loss stopping 36-of-38 shots on the night.
With the win, the Steelheads pull six points clear of Wichita for the second spot in the Mountain Division, while the Rush remain 13 points behind Utah for sixth in the division.
Rapid City: The Rush start a three-game road trip that starts with the Kansas City Mavericks. This will be the final meeting between the Rush and Mavs this season. Puck drop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27th, at 6:05 pm MT.
Idaho: The Steelheads wrap-up their road trip with a two-game series at Wichita. The first game is set for Friday, March 2nd.