For a second night in a row, the Rapid City Rush suffered a 5-2 defeat to the Allen Americans on Saturday night, enduring a sweep in the pair of games prior to the Christmas holiday. The loss extends the Rush’s losing streak to six games dating back to December 7th.
Allen struck twice 35 seconds apart in the opening three and a half minutes to open with a 2-0 lead. Scoring started 2:51 into the action when Greg Campbell fired home the first goal of his professional career, sending a shot from between the hashmarks by Rush net-minder Alex Sakellaropoulos to give the Americans a 1-0 lead (Stepan Falkovsky and Josh Lammon assisted). Exactly 35 seconds later, Allen Captain Jared VanWormer banged home a rebound in a net front scramble to double the Americans lead to 2-0 at 3:26 of the first (Josh Brittain and Corey Durocher assisted). At 6:33 of the first, Taylor Crunk was ejected after being assessed a five-minute major for fighting, and a ten-minute misconduct as an aggressor. That, along with Alex Guptill’s roughing minor, set up four-on-four hockey for a full two minutes. There, the Rush cut the deficit to one at the 7:37, with Stephane Legault potting home his third of the season. In similar fashion to VanWormer, Legault hacked the puck in a net-front scramble by Allen goaltender Jake Paterson to slash Allen’s lead to 2-1 (Keeghan Howdeshell and Myles McGurty assisted). Allen struck back just under two minutes later on the remainder of their major power play to go up two into the period break. Tyler Sheehy, the ECHL’s leading scorer, blasted a one-timer from the near wall at 9:07 by Sakellaropoulos to bring Allen’s lead to 3-1 (Jack Sadek and Turner Ottenbreit assisted).
Josh Brittain slipped home a second Americans power play goal to advance their lead to three in the second period. Just 5:45 into the frame, Brittain blew past the Rush defense and, in close range of Sakellaropoulos, managed to tuck it by the net-minder, bringing Allen’s advantage to 4-1 (Turner Ottenbreit had the lone assist). Just under five minutes later, however, Dexter Dancs gave the Rush life and brought the team within a pair. With 9:30 left in the second, Dancs, in front of the Allen net, deflected a Myles McGurty shot from the far wall that trickled by Paterson, cutting the deficit to 4-2 after two periods (McGurty and Keeghan Howdeshell assisted).
Allen staved off relentless Rush pressure in the third period, including three power plays that generated countless chances for the visitors. Jake Paterson and the Americans defense stood tall, and thanks to a late empty-netter from Jordan Topping with 1:42 left in the game, sealed the win for a second night in a row by a 5-2 final score.
Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped 23 of 27 shots, suffering his third consecutive loss (2-7-0-0 total, 0-3-0-0 with the Rush).
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.
From our family to yours, enjoy a healthy, safe, and Merry Christmas Rush Nation!