The Utah Grizzlies jumped on Rapid City with five goals in the first period and rolled to a 5-1 win in West Valley, Utah, to dampen the Rush's late-season ECHL playoffs push.
The loss was the Rush’s fourth straight overall and third in a row against the Grizzlies. Utah is now up .018 over Rapid City for the fourth and final playoffs spot with 13 games to go.
Garrett Johnston started the scoring onslaught at 4:05 of the opening frame, firing a shot that beat Rush net-minder Adam Carlson, giving the Grizzlies an early 1-0 lead (Trey Bradley and Matt Hoover assisted).
Exactly 30 seconds later, a turnover behind the net came to Teigan Zahn, who rifled a shot between Carlson’s blocker and the post, quickly doubling the Utah lead to 2-0 at 4:35 of the first (Hayden Hodgson had the lone assist).
Hodgson then fired a laser off the post and in to extend the Grizzlies lead to 3-0 at 9:08 of the first (Pare had the lone assist). Moments later, A.J. White found Trey Bradley wide open in front of Carlson’s crease. Bradley pocketed a quick wrister, ballooning the Grizzlies lead to a commanding 4-0 advantage with 4:14 left in the first (White and Hoover assisted).
The goal prompted the removal of Carlson, substituted by Dave Tendeck in net for the remainder of the game. Tendeck only allowed one goal in relief, and it came from Ryan Lowney in the final seconds. With 14 seconds remaining, Lowney fired a shot right down the slot area that beat Tendeck, ending the Grizzlies first period onslaught at 5-0 (White and Charlie Gerard assisted).
Utah goaltender Parker Gahagen only saw six shots and stopped them all in the first 20 minutes.
The only Rush goal came in the final two minutes of the second period, and Andrew Sturtz batted the puck in mid-air past the Utah goalie and got the Rush on the board (Hunter Garlent and Darren Brady assisted).
Carlson suffered the loss, stopping 8 of 12 shots in 15:56 of his start (13-11-2-1). Dave Tendeck came in relief of Carlson, and allowed only one goal on 17 shots in 44:04 of relief.
The Rush and Grizzlies continue the four-game series Saturday night at 7 p.m.