INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Stephane Legault deflected a Tanner Karty shot behind Dan Bakala with 1:44 left in regulation as part of a three-point night to lead the Rapid City Rush to a 5-3 win over the Indy Fuel on Friday night. The win is the second this week at the midway point of a four game/five night/three city stretch, and the second in three all-time meetings for the Rush against the Fuel.
Brennan Saulnier began the scoring entries in the first period, extending his personal point streak to four games. In four-on-four hockey with 6:12 gone by in the first, Saulnier hacked the puck in a net-front scramble by Dan Bakala in net for Indy, putting the Rush on top first with a 1-0 lead (Stephane Legault and Myles McGurty assisted). Indy countered over nine minutes later in another round of four-on-four hockey to tie things up late. With 4:18 left in the first, Jack Ramsey, from the near wall of the Rush zone, unwound for a full slapshot that caught Rush net-minder Gordon Defiel. It deflected off of his paraphernalia and rolled over the goal line, squaring the game at 1-1 (Bobby MacIntyre had the lone assist). In the last three minutes, the Rush jumped back on the power play and got the last word before the end of the frame. With 2:52 left in the first, Jalen Smereck fired a blue line pass down to Keeghan Howdeshell on the near wall, with the latter firing a under Bakala’s leg to give the Rush a 2-1 lead (Smereck had the lone assist). Indy was outshot 15-4 in the first 20 minutes.
In the second period, Indy utilized Jake Schultz to trade blows with the Rush, eventually heading into the third period deadlocked on the scoreboard. Schultz’ first of his pair of strikes came at 2:51 of the second on a snipe between the hashmarks in the Rush zone, whizzing over Defiel’s shoulder to square the game at 2-2 (Connor McDonald had the lone assist). Exactly 27 seconds later, however, Ryker Killins struck back with a sharp angle try from near the far corner of the Fuel zone, rifling a shot over Bakala’s shoulder to give back the lead to the Rush at 3-2 at 3:18 of the period (Tanner Karty and Stephane Legault assisted). Schultz fired right back for Indy just shy of the midway point of regulation, leveling the game for the final time. With 10:01 left in the second, the puck was dumped into the Rush zone to Schultz, who’s initial shot went wide of the net. The puck took an active bounce off of the kick plate right to Defiel’s back door, where Schultz tucked it in the net to square the game at 3-3 (Josh McArdle and Jake Ryczek assisted).
It took nearly the entire period for the game-winner to come through, and it was Legault’s final point of the night that got the job done for the Rush. With 1:44 left in the game, Tanner Karty circled to the top of the Fuel zone and rifled a shot on net. Legault deflected the shot past Bakala, giving the Rush the final lead of the game at 4-3 (Karty had the lone assist). Karty finished the game with a solo, unassisted effort into the empty-net with 26 seconds remaining to seal the Rush victory at 5-3.
Gordon Defiel, making his Rapid City Rush debut, turned aside 18 of 21 shots in the win (1-0-0-0 with the Rush, 1-2-0-0 total).