Griffen Molino tied the game on a controversial goal with 6:25 left in regulation to force overtime, where the Utah Grizzlies took a 2-1 overtime win over the Rapid City Rush on Wednesday night thanks to Peter Tischke’s winner 2:12 into the extra session. The overtime loss, despite the controversy surrounding it, gives the Rush a crucial standings point, and turns their magic number to 30 to clinch a Mountain Division playoff spot with 19 games remaining in the regular season.
Both teams skated to a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes, with Rush net-minder Gordon Defiel stealing the show by stopping 20 shots in the opening frame. In the second, the Rush provided the only goal on their first power play of the game just over the midway point of regulation. At 10:46 of the second, Dane Birks fired a pass from the near blue line to the far faceoff circle in the Grizzlies zone. His pass was targeted for Tyler Coulter, who unleashed a cannon off the bar and past Grizzlies goalie Martin Ouellette to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Birks had the lone assist).
Utah tied the game up in the third period, but the goal was surrounded by controversy. With 6:25 left in the game, in a scrum in close to the Rush net, Griffen Molino batted the puck out of mid-air well over the cross bar and forced the puck behind Rush net-minder Gordon Defiel. Despite no review of the goal, and a lengthy conference from the officials, a “puck played with a high stick” was not called to negate the goal, and it stood to tie the game at 1-1. The goal forced overtime.
Despite a furious rally of saves from Gordon Defiel to keep the Rush alive, Utah won the game on a net-front deflection from Peter Tischke 2:12 into the extra session. Utah won the game 2-1.
Gordon Defiel stopped all but two of 49 shots on his net, suffering the overtime loss (3-2-2-0 with the Rush, 3-4-2-0 overall).
The Rush continue their four-game road trip this week for a pair of matchups against the Idaho Steelheads in Boise. Puck drop for both games on Friday, February 21st and Saturday, February 22nd, is slated for 7:10 p.m. MDT at CenturyLink Arena.