Allen Takes Game One
(ALLEN, TX) - Daniel Leavens struck twice against a team he used to call home, but the effort came up short as the Rapid City Rush were defeated by the Allen Americans by a 5-2 score on Friday night.
Despite leading with a vicious charge to start the game, the Rush conceded the first goal of the contest to Allen. With 5:54 gone by in the contest, Connor Reilly fired a shot from the slot that bounced over Rush net-minder Adam Vay and in. Despite contact made with Vay as the puck traveled in the net, the goal stood as good and the Americans took a 1-0 lead (Miles Liberati had the lone assist). The Rush eventually answered with the last word of the period, as Jack Walker chipped the puck out of his zone on a lost defensive zone draw and was off to the races. Walker patiently waited for reinforcements and found them in the form of Daniel Leavens, who fired a shot over the shoulder of Allen goalie Jake Paterson to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:01 left in the first (Walker had the lone assist).
Allen answered right back to start the second and found Spencer Asuchak crash the Rush net and cash-in to give the Americans a 2-1 lead just 7 seconds into the middle act (Zach Pochiro and Alex Guptill assisted). Eric Roy doubled the advantage to two goals when he rifled a shot from the blue line of the Rush zone by Vay to make it 3-1 with 6:28 gone by in the second (Guptill and Josh Thrower assisted). Following the goal, Vay was removed from the game and substituted with Christian Frey in net, having only played 26:28 of the contest. Leavens struck for the Rush shortly after the goalie change in a five-on-three power play for his second strike against his former team. With 5:13 left in the second, Leavens found a rebound in lclose range and pocketed it by Paterson from the left faceoff circle to bring the Rush deficit to 3-2 heading into the third period (Peter Sivak and Shaquille Merasty assisted). Frey stopped all 3 shots he saw after taking over in the second period.
Allen re-established their two-goal lead moments into the third period to eventually pull away with the win. With 14:54 left in the game, Mathieu Aubin knocked a loose puck by Frey on the side of his crease and gave Allen a 4-2 lead, separating the Americans from the Rush for good (Connor Reilly assisted). Alex Guptill sealed the win with an empty-net goal with less than two minutes remaining to halt the Americans losing streak and give them the first game of the series with a 5-2 win.
Adam Vay suffered the loss, stopping 16 of 19 shots in 26:28 of play (12-14-1). Christian Frey stopped all but one of 19 shots faced in 33:20 of relief.
The Rush conclude their three-game road trip with a rematch against the Allen Americans. Puck drop on Saturday, March 3rd is slated for 6:05 p.m. MST at the Allen Event Center.
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