Rush Win Second against Aces
ANCHORAGE, AK - Rookies took over for the Rapid City Rush on Saturday night, as Geoff Fortman and Marcus Ortiz both scored their first professional goals and Luke Siemens stopped 43 shots in his pro debut in net to give the Rush an eventual 5-2 win over the Alaska Aces.
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw after one period of play, but for a second night in a row, the Rush would enter the third period with the lead in hand. Just 96 seconds into the first period of play, Ryan Walters carried the puck into the Aces zone, and backhanded the puck from the near corner of the Rush attacking zone towards the net. Geoff Fortman was off of his blue line and point blank in front of the Aces net, and hacked the puck by Alaska goaltender Kevin Carr to notch his first pro goal and give the Rush a 1-0 lead (Walters and Christian Horn notched the assists). Two nights in a row, however, Alask would quickly square the game up. With 13:05 left in the second, Daniel Moynihan fired a shot through traffic from the far faceoff circle in the Rush zone that squeaked by Rush net-minder, Luke Siemens, and it tied the game at 1-1 (Tommy Olczyk and Ben Lake assisted). Just over five minutes remaining in the second, Christian Horn set Mike Monfredo up to give the Rush a lead. With 5:41 left in the second, Horn entered the Aces zone and made a move around an oncoming assailant. Horn then found Monfredo driving down the lane, and he fired a shot by Carr for his second goal in a Rush uniform, giving his club a 2-1 lead after two period (Horn earned his second assist of the night, while Terrence Wallin earned his first).
Playing off of the theme of first year pros accomplishing career firsts, Marcus Ortiz joined the party and gave the Rush a two-goal lead. With 9:42 left in the game, T.J. Sarcona squeaked the puck to Ortiz in the far corner of the zone, and Ortiz tight-roped the goal line and finished with a backhand over Carr's glove, expanding the Rush lead to 3-1 with his first career goal (Sarcona earned the lone assist). Following the goal, Carr was subbed for Drew O'Connell, a local fireman who last played in the ECHL with the Ontario Reign back in the 2012-13 season, for the remainder of regulation. The goalie switch sparked the Aces, and helped them cut the deficit to one. With 2:53 to play in regulation, on the final Alaska power play of the night, Yan-Pavel LaPlante slammed a rebound off of Siemens and into the Rush net, bringing Alaska's deficit to 3-2 (Peter Sivak and Tim Coffman assisted). The close gap would be short-lived, because Anchorage-native Hunter Fejes put the Rush back up by two with 68 seconds to play when he received a Sam Rothstein pass and finished on the short side of O'Connell to put the Rush on top 4-2 (Rothstein earned his first pro assist, while Geoff Fortman earned his second point of the night and an assist for a third game in a row). In an odd twist to the end of regulation, Fejes was awarded a second goal with 1 second remaining when he went to score in an empty Aces net, but was denied of the opportunity because of an Alaska penalty. By rule, Fejes given the goal and that brought the final score to 5-2, giving the Rush their second win in as many games against the Aces in this series.
Luke Siemens won his professional debut, stopping all but two of 45 shots in the effort (1-0-0).
Both teams play for the final time ever tomorrow afternoon at 5:05 p.m. MST at Sullivan Arena.
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