Darian Romanko struck twice, including the game-winning goal with 2:29 left in the game to power the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 win over the Allen Americans on Saturday night. The win gives the Rush the series win this week against Allen, taking two wins in three games, and keeps them four points ahead of the Tulsa Oilers for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division.
The Rush got the first goal in the contest, but Allen scored on both of their first period power plays to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room. Darian Romanko got things started for the Rush 1:52 into the action after Tanner Karty, from the far wall of the Americans zone, fired the puck on net. The initial shot was stopped by Allen goalie Andrew Shortridge, but Romanko slammed the puck home in close range to give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Karty and Brandon Fehd assisted). Allen went to the power play roughly five minutes later, and former Rush forward Alex Guptill collected his second goal of the week’s series to tie the game. At 7:38 of the first, Guptill sent a rebound in front of the crease past Rush net-minder Gordon Defiel, squaring the game at 1-1 (Cody Corbett and Les Lancaster assisted). On the very next Americans power play, Guptill carried the puck towards the Rush net on the goal line and found a wide-open Alex Breton off of the blue line. Breton fired his shot past a stretched out Defiel to give the Americans a 2-1 lead with 8:01 left in the first (Guptill and Brett Pollock assisted).
The Rush carried power play time into the opening minutes of the second period, and the Captain equalized the game in the early moments of the frame. Just 36 seconds in, Brennan Saulnier carried the puck into the Allen zone behind the goal line and threaded a pass to the slot. Peter Quenneville was right in front of the crease and tapped the puck into the open net to square the game at 2-2 (Saulnier and Chris Leibinger assisted). It was a penalty-filled second period, with 43 PIM coming from both rivals. The remaining 15 were assessed to Allen’s Stepan Falkovsky, who was assessed 10-minute match penalty for high-sticking and was subsequently ejected from the contest.
Darian Romanko started the scoring entries in the game, and eventually ended the scoring entries in the third to power the Rush to the win. With 2:29 left in the game, Allen’s Cody Corbett attempted to exit the zone by flipping the puck in the air. It caromed off of one of his teammates, and was gloved down by Romanko, who, in one fluid motion, dropped the puck and fired it past the blocker of Shortridge to give the Rush a 3-2 lead (the goal was unassisted). With over two minutes remaining, Shortridge was called to the bench for an extra-attacker scenario for the Americans, and in the ensuing chaos, Allen drew a penalty to go up 6-on-4 for the remainder of the game. The Rush penalty kill, led by Defiel in net, hunkered down and kept the Americans at bay, leading to a 3-2 win and series win over the ECHL’s #1 team.
Gordon Defiel stopped 29 of 31 shots, earning his third win with the Rush in 7 appearances (3-1-1-0 with the Rush, 3-3-1-0 overall).
The Rush now embark on a four-game road trip next week, beginning with the Utah Grizzlies. Puck drop for the President’s Day matinee on February 17th is slated for 1:10 p.m. MDT at the Maverik Center.