anner Karty erased Martin Ouellette’s shutout with 2:35 left in the game, but it wasn’t enough to spark a furious comeback late as the Rapid City Rush fell to the Utah Grizzlies by a 3-1 score on Monday afternoon. The game marked the beginning of a four-game road trip for the Rush, taking them through Utah for two games and against the Idaho Steelheads for the remaining half.
Utah provided the lone goal of the opening frame, and carried a 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes. Just 3:27 into the action and on the second power play of the game for the Grizzlies, Yuri Terao followed a feverish exchange near the Rush net and slammed a loose puck by Rush net-minder Gordon Defiel, giving the home side an early 1-0 advantage (Mitch Maxwell and Jack Jenkins assisted).
Utah added an additional pair of goals to their tally, expanding their lead to 3-0 heading into the final period. Griffen Molino doubled the Grizzlies lead on a strong individual effort off of a faceoff, carrying a defender to the slot, patiently out-waiting Defiel, and tucking it into an exposed net to make it 2-0 Utah at 8:21 of the second (Mitch Maxwell and Tim McGauley assisted). Moments later, Josh Dickinson tripled the lead after the puck took an unlucky bounce off of the corner glass in the Rush zone and landed in Defiel’s crease. Dickinson, in the right place at the right time, tapped the puck behind Defiel to expand the lead to 3-0 with 7:02 left in the second (Taylor Richart and Ryan Wagner assisted).
Tanner Karty gave the Rush some life late in the game, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Grizzlies. With 2:35 left in the game, up two men with a power play and Defiel pulled from the net for an extra-attacker, Karty navigated traffic in front of the Grizzlies net and found the puck, banking it behind Grizzlies goalie Martin Ouellette to get the Rush on the board, trailing 3-1 (Darian Romanko and Keeghan Howdeshell assisted). After the tally, the Rush utilized the extra-attacker for the remainder of the game and applied sustained pressure in the Grizzlies zone, but couldn’t find the back of the net again, eventually falling by a 3-1 final score.
Gordon Defiel stopped 28 of 31 shots in net for the Rush, suffering his second regulation loss in 8 appearances with the Rush (3-2-1-0 with the Rush, 3-4-1-0 overall).
The Rush continue theu four-game road trip this week with a rematch against the Utah Grizzlies. Puck drop for Wednesday, February 19th, is slated for 7:10 p.m. MDT at the Maverik Center.