It’s “R” time for the President’s Cup.
The Rapid City Rush became the fourth Central Hockey League franchise to hoist the Ray Miron President’s Cup in their sophomore season, with a come-from-behind 4-3 triumph over the Allen Americans on Tuesday in Game 6 of the CHL finals.
Scott Wray touched up a rebound from playoff MVP Les Reaney with 32 seconds left in the second overtime to send a packed Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena crowd into a frenzy in an epic, exhausting, double-overtime thriller.
“I saw (Wray) going to the net, so I put the puck on net and saw his shot bounce off Whitley’s chest and go in the net,” Reaney said. “It was pure adrenaline. We were getting stronger and stronger each shift.”
With 5,119 urging them on with chants of “We want the Cup,” the Rush delivered on head coach Joe Ferras’ promise in a pre-game talk.
“You win a championship tonight as a team, tomorrow you’ll walk together as brothers forever,” Ferras said.
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The Rush were poised to complete their title run after outscoring the Americans 11-4 in Games 4 and 5 in Allen, Texas, but the Amerks didn’t waste any time seizing the impetus in Game 6.
Allen jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and were less than five minutes from sending the series to a deciding seventh game when Blaine Jarvis and Brendan Cook each scored by deflecting pucks off Allen goaltender Chris Whitley.
Nino Musitelli took the first of Colton Yellow Horn’s three assists and swooped in and buried the puck past Battochio with just 2:15 ticked away in the contest.
Bruce Graham further quieted the sellout crowd, finding the net with a power-play blast from atop the right circle with 4:49 left in the frame.
Christian Gaudet won the chase for a loose puck and fired from the right circle, just catching the inside of the left post with 28 seconds left in the period.
That three-goal advantage appeared to be all the Allen Americans needed to live to fight another day, but Rapid City would not be denied.