Rapid City Rush vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Mar 17, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Steelheads head into Friday night’s contest in search of their third straight win, and ninth win this season against the Rapid City Rush, in the middle game of their three-game set at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads have won six consecutive meetings against the Rush and head into the weekend in third place in the Mountain Division, six points behind the Allen Americans but eight points ahead of the Alaska Aces. The Rush sit at the bottom of the division, having dropped two in a row.
Aaron Harstad broke a 1-1 tie at 6:39 of the third period on Wednesday, his fifth goal of the season and third as a Steelhead giving Idaho a 2-1 lead. Rob Linsmayer netted a power play goal and Brian Nugent scored into an empty net, his seventh goal in ten games, giving Idaho a 3-1 win over the Rush. Branden Komm earned the win with 30 stops.
Lins Locked In…
Rob Linsmayer stayed hot on Wednesday night, opening the scoring late in the second period with a power play goal for his 13th tally of the season. The goal was Linsamyer’s fourth marker and tenth point in the past eight games. With 11 games remaining, Linsmayer’s 30 assists are just six shy of his total from last season when he led the Steelheads in scoring. Linsmayer earned that mark playing in 70 games, while he has appeared in 54 so far this season.
Branden Komm has won four consecutive starts after his win on Wednesday night improved his record this season to 15-11-3 in 30 appearances. During his four-game streak, Komm has a .928 save percentage and a 2.04 goals-against average. In the Rush crease, Adam Morrison has started 12 consecutive games for Rapid City. In his last six appearances, Morrison has a .931 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average, but is 1-5-0 in that stretch.
Third is the Word…
The Steelheads’ success against the Rush this season can largely be attributed to third period success. During the Steelheads’ six-game winning streak against Rapid City, the Steelheads have outscored the Rush 10-0 in third periods. In four of those games, the Steelheads were tied or trailing after 40 minutes. The Steelheads are 12-18-3 this season when tied or trailing after two periods, while the Rush are 16-7-4 when leading after 40 minutes.
Goals: Luciani (25)
Assists: Dahl (38)
Points: Luciani/Dahl (55)
Plus/Minus: Glen (+14)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (11)
Goals-Against Average: Komm (2.84)
Goals: Walters (27)
Assists: Walters (33)
Points: Walters (60)
Plus/Minus: Weselowski (+5)
Power Play Goals: Walters (7)
Goals-Against Average: Morrison (2.82)
Rapid responses push Rush past Idaho
Play of the gameAfter the Rush fought back to tie the game three times in the first two periods, Ryan Misiak gave them the only lead they would need. The Steelheads got caught a bit wide on the penalty kill, meaning that Ryan Walters was able to drive right to the front of the net when he found a loose puck in the right-wing corner. Walters did just that, drawing people to him before sliding a pass to a sneaking Misiak. The Rush only has two power plays in the game, and they made their second one count.
Boise, ID (3/17/17)— Anthony Luciani notched a two-goal night but Ryan Misiak’s power play goal was the only goal of the third period, giving the Rapid City Rush (23-31-8) their first lead of the game with the eventual game-winner in a 4-3 win over the Idaho Steelheads (35-20-7). The loss snapped Idaho’s six-game winning streak against the Rush in front of 4,275 fans on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.
At 7:21 of the third period, Ryan Walters walked out of the right-wing corner and sailed a pass through the low slot to find Misiak diving down from the left point to flip his 16th of the season over a sliding Branden Komm on the power play.
The Steelheads held three one-goal leads throughout the course of the game but the Rush answered each time. Rob Linsmayer opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period, burying a loose puck from his knees in the low slot after a Will Merchant shot off the outside of the net popped in front. The goal was Linsmayer’s 14th of the year, and his fifth in the last nine contests.
The Rush responded quickly, with Logan Nelson grabbing his 11th of the season 6:05 later with a back-hander from the left circle that beat Komm over the glove to tie the score 1-1.
The Steelheads regained their one-goal lead just 26 seconds later when Brian Nugent forced a turnover high in the Rush zone and moved in on a mini 2-on-0, feeding Luciani at the right post for his 26th goal of the season. Nugent almost had a goal of his own, stopped by the glove of Adam Morrison on a first period breakaway chance and then awarded a penalty shot on the same attempt. Morrison stopped that chance as well with the right pad.
Nelson would tie the score with his second goal of the game just 2:02 after Luciani’s first, this time with a left-wing wrister that beat Komm over the shoulder to tie the game 2-2. Nelson has three goals in the first two games of the series, and six tallies in his last nine games.
Luciani put Idaho back in front at 11:51 of the second, taking a Travis Walsh feed on the right-wing on a 2-on-1 rush and sliding it between Morrison’s pads to make it 3-2. The Rush would again answer quickly, with Nelson feeding Hunter Fejes in the high slot 59 seconds later for Fejes’ 13th of the year and another tied score, the goal snapping a six-game points drought for Fejes.
The Steelheads power play was 0-for-5, but not for lack of opportunities. The Steelheads challenged Morrison throughout the night, but Morrison had the answers in the second half of the game. That included an impressive post-to-post stop on a Merchant power play one-timer and several saves late in the third period when the Steelheads had pulled the goaltender.
Coming into Friday’s contest, the Steelheads had outscored the Rush 10-0 in third periods over their prior six meetings. The defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for Komm.
The Steelheads received help elsewhere around the league, with the Missouri Mavericks falling in regulation to the Quad City Mallards. That reduced Idaho’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot to ten points. Any combination of ten points earned by Idaho or lost by the Mavericks will clinch a playoff spot for Idaho.
The Steelheads and Rush meet for the rubber-match on Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena, the 13th and final meeting of the regular season between the teams. The Steelheads will be hosting the final night of their “Pink in the Rink” Jersey Auction, 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: Nate McIntyre Photography
Goals: Linsmayer (14); Luciani (26, 27)
Braden Komm: 17 saves on 21 shots
Power Play: 0-for-5
Penalty Kill: 1-for-2
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Logan Nelson RCR
- Anthony Luciani IDH
- Ryan Misiak RCR
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Anthony Luciani: 2 goals, 5 shots, plus-1 rating