Utah Takes Game One
RAPID CITY, SD- Mike Monfredo and Ryan Misiak scored 27 seconds apart to give the Rapid City Rush a first period lead, but the Utah Grizzlies, led by Jon Puskar's two goal-night, took a 4-2 decision on Wednesday night.
Utah jumped onto the scoreboard first thanks to Jon Puskar in the opening moments of the game. With 3:07 gone by in the contest, Puskar batted a rebound into the Rush net from the back door past Rush net-minder, Luke Siemens, to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead (C.J. Eick notched the lone helper). The Rush then fired back in quick succession, starting off with some special teams help, to eventually take a lead into the intermission. With 8:37 gone by in the first, Martin Nemcik of Utah attempted to rim the puck out of his zone while on the penalty kill. The puck bounced off of the glass and came right to Mike Monfredo, who fired the puck over the shoulder of Utah goaltender, Kevin Boyle, and squared the game at 1-1 (the goal was unassisted). Just 27 seconds later, Ryan Misiak put the Rush ahead when he tipped a Terrence Wallin pass from the near wall of the Utah zone, giving the Rush a 2-1 lead with 9:04 played in the first (Wallin and Ryan Walters earned the assists).
Utah scored quickly at the start of the second period to tie the game back up. With 1:10 played in the second, Zac Larraza completed a tic-tac-toe passing play with a shot on the glove side of Siemens. Siemens caught a piece of the puck, but it squeaked by him and in the net, tying the game up at 2-2 (Erik Bradford earned the lone helper). Jon Puskar struck again to put the Grizzlies back on top when he finished a wrap-around behind the net and squeaked the puck under Siemens' blocker side to make it a 3-2 Utah lead with 6:32 gone by in the second (the goal was unassisted).
At the midway point of the third period, Kevin Boyle withstood a solid three-minute offensive barrage from the Rush, but the puck would fall in favor of Utah and they would spread the gap. With 9:22 left in the game, the Grizzlies went on a rush down the ice. Luke Siemens stopped the attempt of Mark-Andre Levesque with help from Rush back-checkers, but the puck was tight-roping the goal line and was poked in by Colin Martin to give the Grizzlies a 4-2 lead (Levesque and Zac Larraza assisted, the latter earning his second point of the night). The Rush pulled Siemens late for the extra attacker, but a late penalty dashed the hopes of a Rush comeback and negated their advantage, allowing Utah to skate away with a 4-2 win.
Luke Siemens, starting for a third consecutive night, stopped 35 of 39 shots on net in the loss (1-2-0).
Game two for this three-game set is slated for 7:05 p.m. this Friday night at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
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