The win was the Cutthroats (17-10-2) sixth over Rapid City (13-11-5) in nine total meetings this season. Brad Smyth extended his league-leading point streak to 16 games. Markus Lauridsen scored a pair of goals and Chris Greene’s first goal in a Cutthroats uniform proved to be the game-winner in the end.
Kent Patterson stopped a career high 39 shots for his ninth win of the season and is now 7-1-0 in his last eight appearances.
Denver jumped out a 2-0 lead in the first period as Smyth scored just 19 seconds into the night for his 16th of the year. Lauridsen then buried a power play goal from the blue line at 6:52.
Rapid City responded in the second period with three unanswered goals of their own as Justin Faryna scored from the left circle at 4:51 before Jordan Baker added a power play goal at 10:54 and Jarrett Konkle struck on the man-advantage with four seconds remaining in the frame.
The back-and-forth play increased in period three when Lauridsen’s blast from the right point trickled through Rush netminder Tim Boron to knot the game at 3-3. AJ Gale then pushed Denver in front on a rush down the middle of the ice for his team-leading 18th goal of the season. Rapid City responded with their third power play goal of the night when Jesse Schultz scored on a rebound with 8:20 left in regulation.
Greene tallied the game-winner just over a minute later by driving the net from the corner.
Boron stopped 21 of 26 shots on the night in the loss. Rapid City finished 3-for-8 on the power play while the Cutthroats went 1-for-3.
The Cutthroats and Rush continue their four-game series on Friday in the Black Hills. Puck drop is set for 7:05 PM MST at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The series will shift to Denver on Dec. 29 before returning to South Dakota to conclude on New Year’s Eve.
1. Markus Lauridsen (DEN)
2. AJ Gale (DEN)
3. Jarrett Konkle (RPD)
Recap courtesy of the Denver Cutthroats