Sholl Blanks Rush in Rubber Match
(RAPID CITY, SD) - Five different Idaho Steelheads players picked up 2-point performances, and powered by a perfect 4/4 power play and Tomas Sholl's 41 saves, blanked the Rapid City Rush on Saturday night with a 6-0 win. Both teams concluded a stretch of 6 games in a row, in which the Rush came out with a 2-3-1-0 record.
Idaho stormed out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play, thanks in large part to their only two power plays of the period. Starting off scoring entries was Kyle Schempp, who batted a rebound in close range of Rush net-minder Michael Bitzer on the first Steelheads power play to give the visiting side a 1-0 lead 8:23 into the action (Reid Petryk had the lone assist). Under three minutes later, on the team's second power play of the game, Colton Saucerman entered the Rush zone and rifled the puck on the stick of Alexander Dahl in close range of Bitzer, and Dahl deflected it over the Rush rookie to make it a 2-0 affair with 8:55 left in the period (Saucerman and Mitch Moroz assisted). Steelheads Captain A.J. White tripled the advantage when he took a backdoor rebound and buried it by Bitzer to give the Steelheads a 3-0 lead with 1:44 remaining in the first (Petryk and Spencer Naas assisted). Idaho goaltender Tomas Sholl stopped all 13 shots he saw in the first period.
Idaho maintained their perfection on the power play in the last fourth of the second period, extending their lead by another goal heading into the last period. With 3:38 remaining in the frame, the puck was worked d-to-d by Colton Saucerman and Eric Sweetman in the Rush zone on the blue line. Sweetman rifled a shot that was deflected by Schempp in front of the net to make it a 4-0 lead for Idaho (Sweetman and Saucerman assisted). Sholl remained just as perfect as his team's power play through two periods, adding another 16 saves to his count for a total of 29 heading into the third.
Idaho added a pair more in the final period to seal their big win over their heated division rival. Nolan Gluchowski struck on the fourth and final power play of the game. With 6:109 played into the third, Gluchowski deflected a Tony Calderone shot by Bitzer to make it a 5-0 Steelheads lead (Calderone and Kale Kessy assisted). Kessy then added a goal of his own at even strength to bring the game to its final score. With 6:33 left in the game, Kessy fired a close range shot from the right faceoff circle over Bitzer's shoulder to bring the game to its 6-0 conclusion (Calderone and Sweetman assisted). Sholl staved off the remaining 12 shots he saw to bring his shutout to 41 saves, his second of the week.
Michael Bitzer, making his first start since November 16th in Boise, stopped 21 of 26 shots in the loss (3-3-0-1).
The Rush finally get to play a different team next week when they welcome the Mountain Division's first place squad, the Utah Grizzlies. Puck drop for game one of the three game set is slated for Wednesday night, November 28th, at 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
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