Rush Complete Sweep Of Gems, Move On To Round Two
Dayton, OH) - The Rapid City Rush completed an opening round sweep of the eighth-seeded Dayton Gems on Tuesday night, moving on to the second round of the Presidents' Cup playoffs. The Rush, received goals from four different players en route to a 4-3 win at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Rapid City becomes the first team to advance in the Turner Conference, with next rounds opponent still to be determined.
The contest began with two goals during the same Gems powerplay five minutes into the game. Scoring the first shorthanded goal of the series was Rush forward Colt King, tapping home a return pass from Josh Beaulieu to complete a 2-on-1 rush. Just 1:12 later, Gems defenseman Matt Szypura snapped a wrist shot from the point found the top-left corner through a screen, equalizing the game. However, with just 1:59 left in the period, relentless puck pursuit on a scramble in the Gems zone led to a rebound goal by Derek LeBlanc, regaining the lead for the Rush.
The second period began very similar to the first, with both sides netting back to back goals. The first came from Les Reaney who broke down the right wing boards and snapped a shot to the far side, giving Rapid City a 3-1 lead. Just 15 seconds later, Damian Surma took advantage of a deep turnover, sneaking a shot off of Danny Battochio and in, cutting the lead in half. Rapid City regained the two-goal lead while on the man-advantage, receiving a tally from Dave Grimson who blasted a slap shot from the high slot. With 1:39 left, the Gems bounced back, making it a 4-3 game with a second chance goal from Brandon Naurato. Unfortunately for the Gems, Naurato's goal would be the final of the game.
Danny Battochio moved his career playoff record to 14-4 making 33 saves on the night. Defenseman Riley Weselowski and Dave Grimson extended their point streaks to six games while Les Reaney now leads the Rush with five postseason points (3g, 2a).
The Rush powerplay has now scored in ten of the last twelve games, and is converting at over 38% in the young playoff run.
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