Cedric Montminy scored both goals and Adam Carlson stopped all but one of 43 shots to help lead the Rapid City Rush to a 2-1 win over the Utah Grizzlies Thursday night at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.
It was the Rush's fourth straight win over the Grizzlies that included a three-game sweep last weekend in Rapid City. Rapid City gained two points on Kansas City and now trail the Mavericks by seven points for the final divisional playoff spot with nine games remaining in the season.
Both teams traded goals in the first period. Utah started off the scoring with 6:34 remaining in the opening stanza when Will Smith banked in a rebound off a Gabriel Verpaelst shot from close range with Verpaelst and Jake Marchment assisting.
The Rush countered 2:32 later on their first power play of the game. Chris Leibinger got a rebound on a shot from the blue line and found Montminy wide open on the back of the Utah net (Leibinger and Dexter Dancs assisted).
Montminy gave the Rush the lead with the final goal of the game early in the second. With 2:07 gone by in the second, off of a Brandon Fehd shot, Dexter Dancs took the rebound and found Montminy, who scored past Utah net-minder Kevin Carr (Dancs and Fehd assisting).
Carlson, the reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Week, staved off a third-period rally for the Grizzlies, stopping all 19 shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Rush continue their six-game, two-weekend series against the Grizzlies again Saturday in Utah at 7:05 p.m.
Schedule change: Thunder to face Watertown Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Due to weather and road closures, the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association (SDAHA) has updated 2019 State Boys' Varsity Tournament schedule at the Oahe Expo Center in Ft Pierre.
With the updated schedule, the Rushmore Thunder take on the Watertown Lakers at 7:30 p.m. (mountain) Friday, with the winner of the first round advancing to the semifinal game at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
The losing team is scheduled to play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The other first-round game Friday will see Oahe vs. Brookings at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, it will be Huron vs. Sioux Center at 7:30 a.m. and Sioux Falls vs. Aberdeen at 9:45 a.m.