It was close, but not close enough for the Rapid City Rush, as it fell to the Fort Wayne Komets Friday on the road 6-4.
Riley Weselowski brought his team within striking distance with 92 seconds left in regulation, but the Fort Wayne held off a Rapid City late. The game marks the end of a 6-game-in-10-night-in-5-city road trip for the Rush, which concluded with a 2-4-0-0 record.
Just 15 seconds into the game, Fort Wayne's Justin Hodgman found Marc-Olivier Roy in the high slot from the far corner of the Rush zone and Roy's shot got past Rush goalie Adam Vay to give the Komets a 1-0 lead (Hodgman had the lone assist).
The Rush countered right back when Matt Caito came off of the blue line and threw it on net, and the puck got by Komets goalie Garrett Bartus to tie the game at 1-1 with 8:48 gone by in the first (Pavel Jenys and Ian Brady assisted)
With 2:10 left in the period, Mason Baptista hit a hard shot over Vay’s shoulder to give the Komets a 2-1 lead (Shawn Szydlowski had the only assist).
Fort Wayne doubled their advantage on a three-on-one break into the Rush zone. Szydlowski connected with a trailing Ryan Lowney, who finished with a shot by Vay to bring their lead to 3-1 with 5:56 played in the second (Szydlowski and Marc-Olivier Roy assisted).
Tyler Deresky brought the Rush back within one at the end of the second, to maintain the deficit after two periods. With 61 seconds left, Deresky slipped a shot past Bartus to cut Fort Wayne’s lead to 3-2 after two periods (Saituro and Brady assisted).
Fort Wayne struck twice in the opening minutes of the third to build a 5-2 lead. With 1:33 gone by, Cody Sol took a Baptista pass on the blue line and scored to give the Komets a 4-2 lead (Baptista and Garrett Thompson assisted).
Szylowski's shot by Vay moments later to make it 5-2 Komets with 3:42 gone by in the third (Roy and Baptista assisted).
The Rush then mounted their comeback, started by former Komet Kenton Miller. With 13:50 left in the game, Miller scored on assists from Jenys and Caito. Weselowski then made things interesting when he crashed off the blue line and dumped a loose puck behind Bartus with 1:33 left in the game to make it a 5-4 contest (Peter Sivak and Daniel Leavens assisted).
Vay, in his sixth consecutive start, stopped 25 of 30 in the loss (9-12-1).
The Rush now head back home for a three-game series against the Utah Grizzlies, starting Wednesday morning with the first day-time home game in franchise history, the puck drops at 10:30 a.m.