Tyler Coulter backhand tucked the overtime winning goal 2:04 into the extra frame, and coupled with Peter Quenneville’s four-point night, led the Rapid City Rush to a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win over the Tulsa Oilers on Friday night. The win gives the Rush, the last undefeated team at home in the ECHL this season, seven consecutive victories on home ice, and maintains their share of second place in the entire ECHL.
Both teams skated to a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes of play, with Tulsa’s Evan Fitzpatrick and Rapid City’s Ivan Prosvetov proving many spectacular saves. Fitzpatrick stopped all 10 shots he saw, while Prosvetov matched that and added another four saves to his name.
Tulsa had a chance to strike first on a penalty shot 9:35 into the second period, but Dakota Joshua was denied by Prosvetov and the game remained scoreless. Eventually, the deadlock was broken by the Rush, and it was Gage Torrel providing the first strike for a second game in a row. On the third Rush power play of the game, Peter Quenneville found Giovanni Fiore in the slot area with time and space to shoot. Fiore shot the puck, but it bounced off of a defender and to an open Torrel on the backdoor. Torrel shoveled the puck by Fitzpatrick and gave the Rush a 1-0 lead with 8:57 left in the second (Fiore and Quenneville assisted).
Tulsa came storming back in the third period and struck for three unanswered goals to overtake the Rush. Starting off the rally for the Oilers was Danny Moynihan at 3:29 into the final frame when he knifed the puck on the goal line and over the shoulder of Prosvetov, squaring the game at 1-1 (Robby Jackson and Charlie Sampair assisted). Jackson and Sampair connected moments later to give the Oilers their first lead of the game. With 6:57 gone by in the third, Sampair fired the puck on net, and Jackson was all alone to pick up the loose change on the sequence. He buried it to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead (Sampair had the lone assist). On their final power play of the game, Tulsa struck again to double their lead over the Rush. With 8:54 left in the game, Jared Thomas took a cross-ice pass into the near face-off circle, fully wound up, and fired a slap shot off the post and in, propelling Tulsa to a 3-1 lead (Adam Pleskach and J.J. Piccinich assisted).
For a third time in seven home games, the Rush found themselves down a pair and tied the game in the final minutes, and engineered a comeback to keep their home winning streak alive.
Exactly 55 seconds after Thomas’ power play strike, Peter Quenneville followed with a counter punch to bring the Rush within striking distance, scoring for a fourth consecutive game. Trey Phillips flew into the Oilers zone and powered towards the net, with Fitzpatrick negating with a stick check. The rebound came to Quenneville, who finished with a back-hander to cut the Oilers lead to 3-2 (Phillips and Dane Birks assisted). Down, but not out, the Rush pulled Prosvetov for the extra-attacker, and the gamble paid off. With 46.2 seconds left, Ryker Killins fired a shot that was stopped by Fitzpatrick, and the rebound was shoveled by Peter Quenneville to the back side of the crease. Keeghan Howdeshell was wide open and buried the loose puck, squaring the game at 3-3 (Quenneville and Ryker Killins assisted). Overtime was on the horizon.
Both teams came into this game winless in overtime, but that changed for the Rush early in the extra session. At 2:04 of the final period, Quenneville fired a “Hail Mary” up to Tyler Coulter, who was sprung on a break all alone into the Oilers zone. Coulter finished with a back-hand tuck that slipped by Fitzpatrick and gave the Rush a 4-3 win, their seventh straight on home ice to start the year.
Ivan Prosvetov stopped 36 of 39 shots on net, earning his third straight win (4-1-0-0). With the win, the Rush remain the last undefeated team on home ice in the ECHL and are now one win shy of the franchise record for most consecutive home wins heading into the series finale tomorrow.