Allen, TX – The Rapid City Rush scored two goals in the 3rd period, while holding the Americans scoreless, and added an empty net goal in the final seconds of regulation, to take a 5-2 win over Allen on Tuesday night.
For a game that had a total of seven goals scored, the Americans and Rush got off to an anemic start. The first period of play was characterized by turnovers on both sides and Rapid City penalties. The Rush took a total of four minors in the opening frame, but the Americans were unable to capitalize on any of the opportunities. When the teams went to the locker rooms at the end of the period, Allen led in shots, 9-5, but the game was scoreless.
The two teams wasted no time in kicking up the offense in the 2nd period. By the 1:40 mark, both teams had put a tally on the scoreboard.
Rapid City took the first lead of the game 1:25 into the 2nd period. Jesse Schultz took a pass from teammate Les Reaney and buried a sharp wrist shot into the back of the net.
The Americans tied it, though, just 15 seconds later. After pulling it briefly back into their own zone, the Americans pushed up ice and caught the Rush flat-footed. Mark Nebus fired a shot that Rush goaltender Tim Boron blocked, but Jeff Martens picked up the rebound in front of the net and fired a backhand shot for a goal and a 1-1 game.
Allen got their first lead of the game just a few minutes later. Americns forward Josh Hepditch took control of the puck, spun and fired a hard wrister over the glove of Boron. Allen led the game 2-1 with 15:46 to play in the period.
Rapid City’s captain Scott Wray tied the game for them, just a little short of halfway through the game. The Rush caught the Americans making a defensive mistake, and it sprang Rapid City on a 3-on-2 odd-man rush. Schultz fed Wray with a perfect pass and he roofed it past Beauchemin to knot the game at 2-2.
The game stayed tied at two until the third period, when Rapid City took over.
The Rapid City line of Jesse Schultz, Scott Wray and Konrad Reeder had been giving Allen trouble all evening. That continued in the 3rd as Konrad Reeder put the Rush on top, 3-2, on their first power play of the night.
Former Odessa Jackalopes forward Collin Circelli opened Rapid City’s lead to two goals with just under 12 minutes to play in the 3rd period, as he slipped past the Allen defense, and fired a shot over Beauchemin’s blocker.
The Americans couldn’t fight their way past the Rush defense in the 3rd, struggling to fight their way off the boards and into open ice. Despite leading in shots in the period, 9-7, Allen didn’t get very many true scoring opportunities, and had to pull their goalie in the final minute to try and close the gap.
An empty net goal by Rapid City in the waning seconds of the game put the nail in the coffin, and the Rush skated out of Allen with a 5-2 victory.
The Americans return to the ice on Friday, as they open a three-game weekend series with the Brahmas that could finalize 2nd and 3rd place seatings in the Berry Conference Standings. Friday and Saturday’s games against Texas will be at the Allen Event Center in Allen, while Sunday’s faceoff will take place at the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills.
Photo Gallery by Chip Crail: