RAPID CITY, SD — A three-goal middle frame gave the Rush a 3-2 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation but the Eagles forced OT and an unfortunate penalty gave them a powerplay opportunity for the 4-3 win Saturday night.
The Eagles opened up the scoring in the first period, the only tally of the opening frame. Jesse Mychan took the feed from Matt Garbowsky in the slot and fired a shot over the shoulder of Rush netminder Adam Vay at 11:30 to give the visiting team a 1-0 edge they would carry into the 1st intermission.
The offensive machine for the Rush took over in the middle frame. Pavel Jenys scored his first of two goals in the period just 0:50 after puck drop. Jenys rifled a shot from the faceoff circle that banked off the post and by Eagles netminder Sam Brittain to square the contest at 1-all. Michael Joly put the defending champs back on top at 5:54 as their third powerplay came to an end, powering the puck deep into the Rush defensive zone and pushing the 3-inch piece of rubber by Vay for the 2-1 edge. Rapid City pocketed a pair of goals less than three minutes apart starting at 9:10 while the Rush were on a 5-on-3 powerplay. Jenys picked up his second goal of the night, again blasting the puck over Brittain to square the game up at 2-all. Rapid City took their first lead of the contest at 12:05 when Gustav Bouramman took the feed entering the Eagles’ zone and fired the puck from the slot by Brittain for the 3-2 edge.
Rapid City took that lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation in 2017 and had all the momentum to come away with the win to close out the calendar year. Colorado, though, wasn’t going to head into 2018 without a fight.
Mychan pocketed his 11th goal on the season at 10:39 of the final frame as he played the loose puck that Vay was unable to corral and squared the game up at 3-all. Both netminders held strong during the remainder of regulation to force extra time.
Rush captain Riley Weselowski was called for an incidental hooking minor just 22 seconds into overtime, giving the Eagles a 4-on-3 advantage which they didn’t squander. During a scramble for the puck in front of the Rush net Joly was able to bury a rebound by Vay at 1:15 and secure the 4-3 win for the visiting Mountain Division rivals.
The Eagles greatly outshot the Rush 27 to 17 in the 61:15 of play and went 2-for-6 on the man advantage while the Rush were an impressive 2-for-3 on the powerplay.
Sam Brittain is credited with the win while Adam Vay takes the loss.
Rapid City Rush: Travels to Utah for a pair of games against the Grizzlies on January 5th/6th. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm MT each night.
Colorado Eagles: Travels to Tulsa for a pair of games against the Oilers on January 6th/7th. Puck drop for Saturday’s contest is slated for 7:05 pm CT with Sunday’s puck drop scheduled for 4:05 pm CT.