Gale's Heroics Lead Denver to a 6-5 Overtime Win
RAPID CITY, S.D. - A four-goal output by the leading scorer in the Central Hockey League capped off a thrilling night on Friday as the Denver Cutthroats edged the rival Rapid City Rush in overtime by a 6-5 final in front of 4,659 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
AJ Gale was the star of the night after scoring the second hat trick and first four-goal game in franchise history for the Cutthroats (30-26-9). JP Chabot and Troy Schwab scored Denver's other two goals in a game that featured four lead changes with neither team leading by more than a goal the entire way.
Gale's game-winner came 90 seconds into overtime on a one-timer from the left point to beat Danny Battochio of Rapid City (34-24-7). It was the seventh time in 15 total meetings this season that Denver and Rapid City have needed extra time to determine a winner, and the 11th one-goal decision overall between the two clubs. The Cutthroats are 6-2-3 in those one-goal games, and this is their first overtime win since opening night when they beat Missouri in a 4-3 final.
Schwab's wrist shot with just over a minute remaining in regulation deflected off a Rapid City skate and in the net to knot the game at 5-5 to force the extra frame. Rapid City's Scott Brannon at 5:38 and Rusty Masters at 11:37 had each scored for Rapid City in the third to take the lead.
After Gale opened up the scoring less than two minutes into the game it appeared Denver would skate into the break with the lead, but Taggart Desmet tied things up on the power play with less than a second remaining on the clock off a loose puck in the slot.
Jordan Behler pushed Rapid City in front, 2-1, at 2:15 of the second but Denver returned fire with Gale's second at 6:02 and Chabot at 8:10.
Scott Brannon scored his first of a two-goal night at 13:29, but Gale made it a 4-3 lead for Denver on a breakaway with 1:04 left in the period. It was the forward's first hat trick since Oct. 20 in Denver's 8-5 loss to the Missouri Mavericks.
Schwab finished the night with a goal and two assists for the Cutthroats, but the night belonged to Gale - who now leads the CHL with 45 goals on the season. Quad City's Mickey Lang is five back with 40.
Kieran Millan stopped 37-of-41 shots for Denver in the win. Battochio turned aside 28 in the loss.
Both team's finished 1-for-4 on the power play.
The Cutthroats and Rush close out the regular season on Saturday in the Black Hills at 7:05 PM MST. A finalized first-round playoff schedule for Denver will be available on Monday.
1. AJ Gale (DEN)
2. Jordan Behler (RPD)
3. Troy Schwab (DEN)
• Discuss this story on the Central Hockey League message board...
Central Hockey League Stories from March 22, 2013
- Wichita Can't Find Traction in 6-2 Loss to Allen - Wichita Thunder
- Brahmas Blanked in Arizona - Fort Worth Brahmas
- Gale's Heroics Lead Denver to a 6-5 Overtime Win - Denver Cutthroats
- Mavs Dominate Oilers, 5-1 - Kansas City Mavericks
- Mallards Drop Bloomington 6-3 - Quad City Mallards
- Oilers Drop 5-1 Decision to Mavs in Final Road Game - Tulsa Oilers
- 7,531 Watch Malllards Defeat Bloomington - Quad City Mallards
- Blaze Fall at Quad City - Bloomington Blaze
- Allen's Aaron Dell Wins Scott Brower Award - CHL
- Tyler Fleck Announces Retirement After 14 Seasons in CHL - Tulsa Oilers
- Young Selected as CHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman - Wichita Thunder
- Wichita's Kevin Young Named CHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman - CHL
- Mallards Playoff Tickets on Sale Today - Quad City Mallards
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Denver Cutthroats Stories
- Veteran Defenseman Returns to the Denver Cutthroats
- Former Open Tryout Participant Returns to the Denver Cutthroats
- Denver Cutthroats Hold Third Annual Open Tryouts
- Denver Cutthroats Add Two More to 2014-15 Roster
- Two Veterans Add Depth to Cutthroats 2014-15 Roster