Rapid City Rush vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Wed Mar 15, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Rapid City Rush appeared more than any other team on the Steelheads’ schedule this season, and this week they will play their final three contests of the year at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads sit comfortably in third place in the Mountain Division, six points up on fourth-place Alaska. The Rush sit at the bottom of the division, 17 points shy of the final seed. Idaho has won ten of its last 13, while the Rush are 5-5-0 in the last ten.
The Steelheads’ defensemen led the offensive charge in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones at CenturyLink Arena. Travis Walsh, Brandon Anselmini, and Aaron Harstad all found the back of the net against Joel Rumpel, while Jefferson Dahl and Joe Basaraba scored in the first period to overcome a Shawn O’Donnell goal in the opening minute. Branden Komm made 32 saves to earn his third straight victory.
Harstad Has It…
Aaron Harstad netted a power play goal and an assist on Saturday, giving him a three-game points streak heading into this series. In eight games since his arrival from Norfolk, Harstad has collected seven points and scored both of his goals on two-man advantages. Harstad also has a plus-7 rating in a Steelheads uniform.
Dahl About It…
Jefferson Dahl has scored the Steelheads first goal in each of the last two contests, with the captain carrying a four-game points streak into Wednesday night with two goals and two assists in that span. Dahl has three goals and seven points in his last seven games, a stretch that has pushed him to a new career-high with 54 points. Linemate Rob Linsmayer has helped that climb, with nine points over that stretch. Six of those have been assists, with two of them coming on Dahl goals.
About the Rush…
The Steelheads have won seven of ten and five in a row against the Rush this season, but this is Rapid City’s first visit to Boise since December 17th. After suffering a sweep at the hands of the Steelheads in Rapid City to start March, the Rush split a pair with the Alaska Aces and now begin a seven-game road trip. Ryan Walters leads the way offensively with 60 points in 60 games, the captain riding a three-game points streak. Hunter Fejes and Mark Coopeer have been the supporting cast on offense, but both are without a point in five games. Adam Morrison has made 11 consecutive starts in net. He’s given up just 11 goals in his past five games, but has a 1-4-0 record in that span.
Goals: Luciani (25)
Assists: Dahl (37)
Points: Luciani (55)
Plus/Minus: Glen (+14)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (11)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.24)
Goals: Walters (27)
Assists: Walters (33)
Points: Walters (60)
Plus/Minus: Weselowski (+6)
Power Play Goals: Walters (7)
Goals-Against Average: Morrison (2.84)
Harstad tally puts Steelheads past Rush
Play of the gameJoe Faust’s late defensive play was a game-saver. With all eyes focused on Ryan Walters at the right half-wall, the Rush’s leading scorer slid a pass down low for an uncovered Triston Grant. With Grant trying to hold his shot until Branden Komm was sprawled out on the ice, Faust reached in to lift Grant’s stick off the ice and send the puck to the corner. It was a Grade-A chance for Rapid City in a one-goal game, and Faust ensured they never got a shot.
Boise, ID (3/15/17)— Aaron Harstad’s wrist shot from the left point broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and stood to be the game-winner, as the Idaho Steelheads (35-19-7) skated to a 3-1 win over the Rapid City Rush (22-31-8) in front of 4,288 fans on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Arena. The victory was Idaho’s eleventh in the past 14 games, and their eighth in 11 meetings this season with the Rush.
At 6:39 of the third period, Andre Morrissette swooped in to pull the puck out of Kyle Jean’s feet on a face-off win and fed it out to the left point. Harstad changed the angle slightly and whipped a wrist shot past Adam Morrison’s glove for a 2-1 Steelheads lead. The goal was Harstad’s fifth of the season and third as a Steelhead, as well as his first with Idaho at 5-on-5. In his last eight games, Harstad has three goals and eight points, along with a plus-8 rating.
The Steelheads defended the lead the rest of the way, with Branden Komm stopping all 11 Rush shots in the third period to earn his fourth consecutive win, improving his record to 15-11-3. The game’s biggest save might not have come from Komm at all, however.
With approximately 1:30 left in regulation and the Rush net empty, Triston Grant received a pass alone in front of the Idaho goal. Grant drifted across the front of the cage from right post to left trying to out-wait Komm, when Joe Faust reached in at the last minute and lifted his stick, without taking a penalty, to negate the Rush scoring chance. Faust had already broken up two separate 2-on-1 rushes earlier in the game.
Shortly after the Faust defensive play, Brian Nugent scored into an empty net for his seventh goal in the last ten games, his ninth of the season for a 3-1 Idaho lead.
The Steelheads opened the scoring on the power play at 16:34 of the second period when Rob Linsmayer walked out of the left-wing corner uncontested to beat Morrison blocker-side with his 13th of the year to make it 1-0. The Rush struck back 50 seconds later with a Logan Nelson deflection, his tenth of the year to tie the score.
Andre Morrissette earned assists on both third period goals. Ryan Walters extended his points streak for Rapid City to four games.
The Steelheads have beaten the Rush in six consecutive meetings, and they’ll meet Rapid City again on Friday night for the middle game of the series and the first evening of their “Pink in the Rink” Weekend, sponsored by St. Luke’s. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT, with the game available on 1350AM KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Photo: Creative Expressions Photography
Goals: Linsmayer (13); Harstad (5), Nugent (9)
Braden Komm: 30 saves on 31 shots
Power Play: 1-for-7
Penalty Kill: 3-for-3
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Rob Linsmayer IDH
- Aaron Harstad IDH
- Branden Komm IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Aaron Harstad: Game-winning goal, 3 shots, plus-1 rating