The crowd at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center was as loud and ramped up as it had been all postseason as it waited for Game 6 to begin with a chance for the Rapid City Rush to win the Ray Miron President’s Cup in only its second year of existence.
But two minutes into the game, the Allen Americans quieted the crowd in a hurry with the first goal and were up 3-0 after the first period of Game 6. By the third period, the Rush had chipped the lead to 3-1, but the situation was not promising. With about five minutes left, the Rush found themselves still down two goals.
“It’s the team we’ve been all year,” Rush forward Blaine Jarvis said. “I can’t explain it. We just have confidence in ourselves. The third period has always been our best and we told ourselves going into the third to believe.”
And as they had done all year, Rapid City displayed the resilience of champions and came through when its backs were squarely against the wall. Cody Bostock’s shot was deflected in by Jarvis to light the lamp, shaving the lead in half at the 14:54 mark.
“We made it 3-2, and you could hear the roar of the crowd,” Rush forward Brendan Cook said.
The Rush’s comeback was not complete however, as another goal would be needed to force overtime. They got precisely that just two minutes later when Brendan Cook got a great look on Allen goalie Chris Whitley’s left side and blasted a wrister seemingly off the goalie into the net.
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“We didn’t give up, and we popped a couple home at the end, and it obviously paid off,” Rush forward Rich Hansen said.
The two goals left the Allen bench stunned and searching for answers, and sent the home crowd into a frenzy that completely swung the momentum back to the Rush’s side. The Rush won the President’s Cup 4-3 in the second overtime on Scott Wray’s goal.
“We wanted to play with urgency, but the most important thing was we needed to believe,” Cook said. “As the game went on, we knew we could pull it off. We started getting more pucks on the net, and you saw in overtime the ice kept tilting and tilting in favor of us.”
Head coach Joe Ferras beamed afterwards like a proud father as he watched his team celebrate in the locker room.
“The big thing is the work ethic on this team and the never-quit attitude they had,” Ferras said. “These guys stepped up for each other. Tonight, we’re all champions.”