(RAPID CITY, SD) – Zach Cohen struck twice, including the game-tying goal with 2:20 left in the game, but the Rapid City Rush fell to the Utah Grizzlies by a 3-2 score after 65 minutes of play and an 11-round shootout on Wednesday night.
For the fifth time this season, and a second consecutive game against Utah, the Rush earned the first goal. Michael Young, back off of IR for the first time since October, gained the Rush attacking zone and fed Zach Cohen a pass in the slot. Cohen danced in close range on Ryan Faragher’s net and stuck the puck through the five-hole of the Grizzlies goaltender to put the Rush on the board first with a 1-0 lead at the 3:01mark of the first (Young had the only assist). Utah answered exactly one minute later with Torin Snydeman’s second strike against the Rush in this series, firing a shot through traffic that deflected off of a Rush defender and over the shoulder of Rush net-minder, Marek Langhamer, tying the game at 1-1.
There were no goals in the game from the second period out until the 15:06 mark of the third period. On the second, and final Rush power play of the game, the puck was turned over on the Rush blue line to Utah’s Jon Puskar, who beat Langhamer to give Utah their first lead of the game at 2-1 (the goal was unassisted), but the Rush did not back down and eventually evened the score up. With 2:20 to go in the game, Zach Cohen, navigating traffic in front of Faragher’s net, elevated the puck and sent it in, doing so before the Utah net became dislodged from its moorings. He tied the game at 2-2 and forced three-on-three overtime for the first time at home (Dakota Mermis and Spencer Pommells received the assists).
After an electric three-on-three overtime failed to yield any game-winning goals, the Rush and Grizzlies went into a shootout. It was back and forth the whole way, and eventually lead to what was 11 rounds of breakways. In the eleventh round, it was Torin Snydeman, who opened the scoring entries for the Grizzlies in the first period, that won the game for his club, leading them to that coveted second point in the 3-2 victory.
Marek Langhamer made 28 saves on 30 shots in 65:00 of play, and recorded the shootout loss (1-1-1). The Rush gained a point in the matchup, and have taken 4 of a possible 6 in three meetings with their West Division rivals.
Both teams will meet for a fourth consecutive night on Friday, November 20th, at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The game features “Armed Forces Night”, where the Rush will honor our nation’s military with specialty jerseys. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.