Giovanni Fiore potted a pair of goals for a second night in a row, and Tyler Coulter had a two assist night, but it was Tyler Parks that stole the show with 49 saves on 51 shots as he backstopped the Rush to a 4-2 win against the Idaho Steelheads on Saturday night. The win gives the Rush 5 of 6 points in the series against Idaho this week, and sole possession of first place in the ECHL with 31 points in the standings.
The Rush struck first in the contest, providing the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. Keeghan Howdeshell earned his fourth goal of the season when Tyler Coulter kicked the puck to him in neutral ice and he slipped by a diving defender on the blue line and into the Steelheads zone. With 8:48 gone by, Howdeshell fired a laser by Steelheads goalie Tomas Sholl from the far faceoff circle and gave the Rush a 1-0 lead (Coulter had the lone assist). Tyler Parks, in net for the Rush, stopped all 19 shots he saw in the opening frame.
Rapid City added two more tallies in the second period, but Idaho countered with one following the rally to cut the Rush lead to two heading into the final frame. Brennan Saulnier produced the second Rush goal on the penalty kill, good for his second shorthanded tally of the season. With 8:10 played in the period, Saulnier dislodged the puck in front of his own bench and found Tyler Coulter in neutral ice, then proceeded to join him in the Steelheads zone on a two-on-one. Coulter patiently maneuvered towards the net and threaded the puck to the top of the crease, where Saulnier’s stick deflected the puck past Sholl to give the Rush a 2-0 lead (Coulter had the lone assist). Just over three minutes later, Giovanni Fiore banked in a Peter Quenneville rebound from the slot area to triple the Rush advantage to 3-0 with 8:40 left in the second period (Quenneville and Stephane Legault assisted). The Steelheads countered in the last five minutes and got on the board prior to the end of the frame. With 4:03 left in the second, after a shot was stopped by Parks, Anthony Nellis pocketed the loose change on a nifty maneuver in close quarters to the net, cutting the Rush lead to 3-1 (Marc-Olivier Roy and Jeff King assisted). Parks kept his hot night up, stopping all but one of 14 shots in the second, and 32 of 33 through 40 minutes.
Max Coatta brought the Steelheads within one in the third, but that was as close as the home side would get. On the final Rush power play of the game with 9:26 remaining in regulation, Coatta forced a turnover on the Steelheads blue line and rushed down the ice, virtually uncontested. Coatta fired a shot over the shoulder of Parks to cut the Rush advantage to 3-2 with Idaho’s first shorthanded goal of the season (the goal was unassisted). Idaho pulled Sholl for the extra attacker and, following the move, received a power play with 1:16 left in the game due to a Brennan Saulnier roughing minor. Now armed with a two-man advantage, Idaho threw everything and the kitchen sink at Parks and the Rush. Parks made countless saves, and created a rebound that came right to Giovanni Fiore, who fired the puck from between the hash marks into the empty net with almost no time left, giving the Rush a 4-2 win.
Tyler Parks stopped all but two of 51 shots on net, earning his career-high seventh win of the season (7-1-3-0). The Rush were outshot 51-13 through 60 minutes, and both teams combined for three shorthanded goals in the game.
The Rush return home for a two-week, six-game home stand, beginning with the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday, December 4th. Puck drop at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT.