The final game for the Coloraodc Eagles in Rapid City was another good, come-from-behind victory, as they stopped the Rapid City Rush 2-1 Saturday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Shaquille Merasty scored for a second straight night to put the Rush on top first, but a shorthanded Eagles squad received a power play goal from Ryan Olsen for the game-winner.
After a scoreless first period, Merasty got things started for the Rush when he batted a rebound in front of the Eagles net by goaltender Lukas Hafner with 4:17 played in the game (Jack Walker and Daniel Leavens earned assists).
Colorado drew level just moments later when Matt Garbowsky fired a backhander on Rush net-minder Adam Vay, who made the initial save, but Ryan Siiro trailed for the rebound and buried it to tie the game at 1-1 with 7:45 played in the first (Garbowsky and Matt Register assisted).
Both teams carried their deadlock into the second, but it would be broken by Colorado’s special teams. On their second power play of the game, the puck was turned over to Garbowsky on the near wall of the Rush zone, and again he passed to Ryan Olsen, who then fired a shot by Vay to put the Eagles on top 2-1 with 6:20 left in the second (Garbowsky notched the lone assist).
The Rush had a flurry in front of Hafner’s net to try and tie the game in the third, but Hafner denied all three chances point blank in front of his crease. Colorado hung on to take the win to take the first two games in the three-game series.
Vay stopped 30 of 32 shots on net in the loss (12-15-1-1).
The Rush conclude their busy week of hockey and their 10-year rivalry with the Eagles Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.
Colorado is moving up to the AHL next season.