The Alaska Aces played a little Mr. Grinch to the Rapid City Rush’s pre-Christmas celebration with a 5-1 win Friday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
After a scoreless first period, the Aces struck quickly early in the second, scoring a pair of goals 29 seconds apart. Rapid City never recovered for its eighth loss in the last 10 games.
In his return to the Rush, goaltender Adin Hill blanked the Aces on Wednesday with a 30-save effort in the 4-0 victory. Hill added another 21 minutes to his scoreless streak before it came crashing down in a hurry.
Just 1 minute, 23 seconds into the second period, Alaska’s Justin Breton got the puck past Hill, only to see the Aces respond 29 seconds later on a Steven Tarasuk goal. Garet Hunt and Ben Lake were credited with assists on the first goal, with Nolan Descoteaux and Peter Sivak earning assists in the second.
The Aces took a 3-0 lead into the third period when Descoteaux got on the board late, assisted by Hunt and Lake.
Alaska began to pour it on, adding another goal at the nine-minute mark of the third period on a score by Dax Lauwers, assisted by Tyler Ruegsegger and Matt Geurtis.
Ryan Walters broke the scoreless drought for the Rush, as he scored his 10th goal of the season, unassisted, at the 13-minute mark.
But there was little, if no momentum after that goal, as Alaska came back just 36 seconds later to make it 5-1 when Sivak scored, assisted by Daniel Moynihan.
Despite easily being outscored, both teams had 34 shots on the night. Alaska tender Lukas Hafner stopped 32-of-33 shots, while Hill had 29 shots topped on the night.
Alaska, which is currently sitting third in the Mountain Division of the Western Conference of the ECHL, is now 16-6-1-4, but have just two wins against the Rush in five games this season.
Rapid City, 9-14-5-0 and sixth in the seven-team Mountain Division, will have a few days off before returning to action on Wednesday when it continues the current five-game home stand with the first of three straight against the Idaho Steelheads.
Wednesday's bout begins at 6:35 p.m., with the teams also clashing Friday (7:05 p.m.) and Saturday night (6:05 p.m.).