The Rapid City Rush rallied in the second period to tie the game at 2-2, but a turnover early in the third period set up Yuri Terao for the eventual game-winner, and gave the Utah Grizzlies a 3-2 victory Saturday night in West Valley City, Utah.
The loss was the Rush's sixth straight.
The Grizzlies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, scoring twice in the final five minutes of the frame. Pat Cannone started things off with his first goal as a member of the Grizzlies on the power play, slamming a Diego Cuglietta rebound by Rush net-minder Adam Carlson to give Utah a 1-0 lead at 15:35 (Cuglietta and Ian Scheid assisted).
Moments later, an Alex Lepkowski shot rang off the post and rested sedentary in Carlson’s crease. Unable to make the save with a Utah skater on his back, Joe Wegwerth potted the loose puck to make it 2-0 Grizzlies with 1:54 left in the first (Lepkowski and Jack Jenkins assisted).
Despite the deficit, the Rush came back to tie the game heading into the final period. On their first power play of the game, Tyson Empey helped spark a jumpstarted offense to put the Rush on the board. With 6:33 played, just six seconds into the advantage, Mark Auk's shot was deflected by Empey past Utah goalie Parker Gahagen, splitting the deficit to 2-1 (Auk and Quenneville assisted).
Playing on deflections, the Rush got their tying goal similarly within the last minute of the frame to even things up. With 59.7 seconds left in the second, Jack Suter started a Rush up the ice with Avery Peterson, the latter of which fired a shot on Gahagen. Driving the lane was Brennan Saulnier, who caught a piece of the shot and tipped it behind Gahagen to square the game at 2-2 heading into the third (Peterson and Suter assisted).
Unfortunately, the tie score didn’t last long in the third period. Exactly 92 seconds into the final period, a Rush defensive zone turnover just inside the blue line led Terao on a breakaway alone on Carlson. Terao intercepted the cross-ice pass from Mark Auk, and threaded a shot between Carlson’s legs to put Utah back on top with a 3-2 advantage (the goal was unassisted). The Rush still managed to created decent scoring chances, including on a late power play, but Gahagen stood his line and sealed the win and sweep for Utah.
Carlson stopped 42 of 45 shots on net in the defeat (1-3-0-0).
The Rush begin an eight-game homestand this week against the Allen Americans. Puck drop for all three games —Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — is set for 7:05 p.m.