Trey Phillips brough the Rapid City Rush within two late in the third period, and Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped an impressive 42 shots, but the Allen Americans, led by Corey Durocher’s four-point night, took the win by a 5-2 score on Friday night. The loss extends the Rush’s losing streak to five games dating back to December 7th.
Both teams skated to a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes of play, but quickly exchanged three goals in the span of 4:32 in the middle frame. Corey Durocher began the scoring entries at 7:54 of the second period, following a lengthy offensive zone shift for the Americans. The puck was eventually worked to Durocher after a series of stops by Rush net-minder Alex Sakellaropoulos, but Durocher’s most recent chance beat him on a shot off the crossbar and in, giving Allen a 1-0 lead (Josh Brittain and Jared Van Wormer assisted). Exactly 2:08 later, in the middle of four-on-four hockey, Van Wormer completed another hard-working Americans sequence, banging home a wrap-around attempt by Sakellaropoulos on his glove side to extend Allen’s lead to 2-0 at 10:02 of the second (Turner Ottenbreit and Durocher assisted). Then, 2:24 later, Tyler Poulsen cut the deficit in half to one. With 7:34 left in the second, Poulsen poked the puck out in the neutral zone to a streaking Stephane Legault. Legault entered the attacking zone and left it for Poulsen, who, all alone in the slot area, fired it by Allen goaltender Zach Sawchenko to halve the deficit to 2-1 (Legault had the lone assist).
Entering the third period, Allen extended their lead on a turnover up the near boards of the Rush zone. With just 1:52 gone by, the puck was handed to Alex Guptill, who found Tyler Sheehy all alone in front of the Rush net. Sheehy finished with a shot by Sakellaropoulos to put Allen back on top by a pair at 3-1 (Guptill had the lone assist). Under five minutes later, Corey Durocher potted his second of the night when he snuck behind the Rush defense, and tucked the puck behind Sakellaropoulos with a backhander, extending the Americans lead to 4-1 with 6:11 played in the final period (Jack Sadek and Turner Ottenbreit assisted). Desperate to come back, Trey Phillips deflected his fourth of the season by Sawchenko with 4:21 left in the game, re-directing a Dane Birks shot from just inside the faceoff circles, once again halving the deficit to 4-2 (Birks and Eric Israel assisted). Unfortunately, that was as close as the Rush would get, as Tyler Sheehy buried an empty-netter with 47.1 seconds to goal, sealing a 5-2 Allen win.
Alex Sakellaropoulos, making his second start with the Rush, stopped 42 of 46 shots in the defeat (2-6-2-0 total, 0-2-0-0 with the Rush).
The Rush conclude their two-game set against the ECHL-leading Allen Americans tommorow, Saturday, December 21st. Puck drop at the Allen Event Center is slated for 6:05 p.m. MDT.
The Rush return to home ice on Friday, December 27th and Saturday, December 28th against the Wichita Thunder. Puck drop for both matchups is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.