Controversial Third Period Dooms Rush against Cyclones
(CINCINNATI, OH) - Dexter Dancs and Stephane Legault scored 55 seconds apart in the second period to give the Rapid City Rush a 3-1 lead, but the Cincinnati Cyclones scored five unanswered goals in the third period, one surrounded by a controversial review, to defeat the Rush by a 6-3 score on Saturday night. The game marked the third in a four game/five night/three city trip for the Rush prior to the All-Star Break.
Cincinnati scored just 10 seconds into the contest, but the Rush countered midway through the period to leave with a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes. Right off of the opening faceoff, Ben Johnson came into the Rush zone with speed and fired a shot that was kicked away by Rush net-minder Alex Sakellaropoulos. The rebound came right to the tape of Jesse Schultz, who buried the shot to put Cincinnati up 1-0 (Johnson and Justin Baudry assisted). The Rush found room in the offensive zone at the midway point of the period, despite 5 shots on net, and tied the game up. With 8:29 left in the first, Cedric Montminy took a loose puck up the far wall to the slot area of the Cyclones zone. Montminy fired a wrister that beat Cyclones goalie Michael Houser, and squared the game up at 1-1 with his fourth of the season (the goal was unassisted).
The Rush broke the deadlock in the second period with some quick strike offense, capitalizing on a pair of goals in less than a minute. Dexter Dancs led the scoring charge at 5:21 of the second when, from just inside his own blue line, Brandon Fehd nonchalantly flicked the puck out into neutral ice. Chris Leibinger settled down the puck, warded off an assailant, and tapped the puck to an oncoming Dancs, who rifled a shot by Houser to give the Rush a 2-1 lead (Leibinger and Fehd assisted). Exactly 55 seconds later, Stephane Legault came into the Rush zone and fired a laser between the hashmarks past Houser to double the Rush lead to two at 3-1 with 6:16 played in the second (Myles McGurty and Cedric Montminy assisted).
Cincinnati scored twice in 33 seconds in the third period to drawl level with the Rush, with the tying goal coming amid a controversial review. Justin Baudry got things started in a five-goal third period for the Cyclones with a deflection of a Ben Johnson centering feed in the slot, bringing Cincinnati within striking distance at 3-2 with 8:18 played in the third (Johnson and Justin Vaive assisted). Over half a minute later, Andrew DeBrincat fired a shot that Nate Mitton deflected off of the cross bar, and despite a "no goal" signal from the referee and no goal lamp on, the goal horn in the arena sounded. After review, which showed inconclusive evidence, the call was overturned and tied the game at 3-3 for the Cyclones at 8:51. From there, the Cyclones added four more strikes, including the eventual game-winner from Pascal Aquin, who hammered home a rebound off of a Cody Milan shot with 8:51 left in the game, giving the Cyclones a 4-3 lead (Milan and Justin Baudry assisted). As time was running out during the Rush comeback attempt, Brady Vail sent home a wrister from the slot area with 2:17 left in the game to dampen their hopes, making it 5-3 Cyclones (Pascal Aquin and Cody Milan assisted). Jesse Schultz added the sixth tally for good measure into the empty net with 5.8 seconds remaining, sealing a 6-3 Cincinnati victory.
Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped 24 of 29 shots in the defeat (3-5-0-0 with the Rush, 5-9-0-0 total).
The Rush conclude their busy stretch this week on the road tomorrow, January 19th, visiting the Cincinnati Cyclones for their final head-to-head showdown of the season. Puck drop at Heritage Bank Center is slated for 3:00 p.m. MDT.
Tickets for all remaining Rush games are on sale now! Visit www.rapidcityrush.com to purchase yours today!
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