Despite the Cutthroats taking command of the ice and dominating play throughout the initial period, it was the Rapid City Rush who got on the board first with a goal from Jared Brown who drove the net to beat Fish goalie Kent Patterson on the right side. It was the first of a few goals the young goaltender wanted back. “From my point of view, it’s just little things, little details," said Patterson. "Rebound control and not giving up too many smart chances on my end. Once the puck gets to me, I’ve got to smother it."
The teams traded penalties, with neither power play generating much offense, until the Rush gave the Cutthroats a two-man advantage for two full minutes. At 14:30 in the second, Rapid City's Jordan Behler went off for tripping while Alex Penner sat for cross-checking. It didn't take long for the Fish to capitalize. Halfway through the penalties, Troy Schwab netted his first of the night off of a rebound that Rush goaltender Tim Boron couldn't corral. 50 seconds later, Schwab hit the twine again with a wrister from the slot, putting the home team up 2-1.
The Cutthroats continued to put the pressure on Rapid City, throwing pucks and bodies around at will. Denver was also doing a solid job clogging up the passing lanes, keeping the Rush to the perimeters. By the end of two, shots on net were 20 to 11 in favor of the Fish.
Then the third started, and what seems to be a developing into a trend derailed Denver and turned the advantage back to Rapid City. Three unanswered goals, starting with Scott Wray's at 6:32 and followed by Jarett Konkle three minutes later and Brown's second of the night at 12:49, put the Cutthroats in a hole too deep to climb out of. Not for a lack of trying, though, as they came on strong in the final minutes and missed on a few prime chances that luck just wouldn't let convert.
In the end, the Rush skated away with a sweep on the home-and-away series this weekend, finishing the night with a 4-2 victory.
When asked why his team seems to be falling apart late in games, head coach Derek Armstrong said, "We’re a selfish hockey team right now. I just feel like there’s a lot of individuals. When we play our system, we shouldn’t lose a game. Obviously you see the first period and in the second period how we played our system and teams can’t beat us. All of a sudden, a little thing goes bad here, little thing goes bad there, which happens in life and in sports, and all of the sudden everyone goes to individuals.”
Armstrong is optimistic that the tides will turn for the Cutthroats, however. He recognizes that the team has what it takes to win in the CHL and that its record could just as easily be 4-0 instead of 1-3. With more work on getting the payers to buy into the systems for a full 60 minutes, the team is as challenging as any in the league.
The Cutthroats continue their three-game homestand next weekend with a pair of games against the visiting Fort Worth Brahmas at 7:05 PM MST on Friday and Saturday.
Rusty Masters (RPD)
Troy Schwab (DEN)
Tim Boron (RPD)
Denver’s Sean Zimmerman returned from a three-game suspension in last night's game… The Cutthroats are currently in the middle a three-game losing skid… The Cutthroats have had a multi-goal scorer in three of their first four games of the season – AJ Gale (three goals on October 20th vs. MIZ), Luke Fulghum (two goals on October 26th at RPD), and Troy Schwab (two goals on October 27th vs. RPD)