ALLEN, Texas – The Rapid City Rush erased two separate multi-goal deficits and Ilya Nikolaev scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute to play in the game as the Rush beat the Allen Americans 6-5 on Friday night at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center. Rapid City won for the fifth time in its past six games.
With the Rush trailing 5-3 in the third period, Calder Brooks skated the puck through center ice, gained the zone and found a trailing Carter Robertson. Robertson carried the puck toward the net, deked and flipped a shot past Logan Flodell, cutting the deficit to one.
Allen took a penalty with just over four minutes to play, sending the Rush to the power play with a chance to tie. In the waning seconds of the power play, Rapid City drew another penalty as it worked the puck to Ryan Zuhlsdorf at the point. Zuhlsdorf cranked a slap shot that deflected off an Allen skater and bounced into the net, tying the game at five.
That delayed penalty turned into another Rapid City power play and the Rush dominated possession of the puck in the attacking zone. After a failed Allen clearing attempt, Simon Lavigne hit Alex Aleardi at the left circle. He snapped a pass cross-ice to Nikolaev who blasted a one-timer past the lunging Flodell for the game-winning goal.
Allen took a 3-0 lead with three goals in the first period. First, Jack Combs poked in a loose puck after Daniil Chechelev made the initial save. Later, Ryan Gagnon snuck a backhander barely over the goal line. And after that, Colton Hargrove finished a rebound that found him on the back post to give Allen its 3-0 advantage.
Rapid City got on the board in the final minute of the first after Logan Nelson knifed after a puck and knocked it off an Allen stick. He skated toward the top of the crease, pulled the puck to his backhand and beat Flodell to cut the lead to two.
They kept the momentum going into the second period and shortly after an unsuccessful power play, Matt Marcinew hit Brooks at the left circle. Brooks snapped a wrist shot that darted through Flodell’s legs and it was 3-2.
Later, the Rush won an attacking zone faceoff and Keegan Iverson hit Rory Kerins in the slot. Kerins fired a wrist shot top shelf through Flodell’s blocker side, tying the game at three.
Allen took the lead back later in the second with a power play goal from Combs. They added to that lead when a defensive zone turnover led to a Liam Finlay goal.
Zuhlsdorf, Brooks and Nikolaev each had a goal and an assist and Marcinew recorded three assists to pace the Rapid City attack. The Rush won for the fifth time in their past six games and improved to 9-8-0-0. Allen lost its fourth consecutive game and fell to 5-9-1-0.
The Rush and Americans will face off again on Saturday night for the second of three scheduled between the two teams this weekend. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center.