The Rapid City Rush just keep on rolling and continue to frustrate the Arizona Sundogs.
In the fourth of five increasingly chippy early-season matchups between the Rush and Sundogs, Rapid City blew away a two-goal deficit with three unanswered goals, pushing their unbeaten streak to eight with a nail-biter of a 3-2 victory Friday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
Justin Faryna, Ryan Palmer and Konrad Reeder scored and Tim Boron stopped 27-of-29 shots for Rapid City (8-0-0).
“Great for us, but these have been four unbelievable hockey games,” Rush head coach Joe Ferras said. “They’ve got a great hockey team over there. They come out hard every night.”
Indeed the Sundogs didn’t play like a 1-7-1 team. Arizona came out swarming, especially on the power play.
“We’re definitely making baby steps. We didn’t get the result we wanted tonight, but we are getting better,” Arizona coach Kevin Colley said. “You’ve got to give (Rapid City) credit. They’re undefeated for a reason.”
Ian Schultz put the Sundogs out front 1:59 into the first period, and former Rapid City forward Damian Surma added a power-play tally midway through the frame.
But just as in Saturday’s 5-3 Rapid City win in Arizona, Faryna sparked Rapid City’s comeback, finally slapping a loose puck past Arizona starter Andrew Engelage.
“It just seems like we’re getting out to late starts, but once we turn it on, it’s because we’re doing the simple things down low, we’re cycling it and we’re going to the net,” Faryna said.
Palmer tied it up on a blast from the point with 1:13 left in the frame. Reeder added his eighth goal of the season on a breakaway pass from Jesse Schultz for the eventual game-winner, which was also the only goal in a penalty-filled second period.
Boron survived a pair of relentless Arizona power plays in the second period and finished with 27 saves to improve to 7-0-0.
Engelage, a big body in net at 6-5 and 220 pounds, slipped to 1-4-1 after making 31 saves.
“We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game and not give them three layup goals, which is what we did, just on some mental breakdowns,” Colley said. “We did some positive things tonight, and we’re going to have to build on that and come back tomorrow."
Rapid City and Arizona complete the series Saturday night at the Ice Arena.