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Rapid City Rush Tops Denver Cuttroats in Shootout Thriller, 3-2

The Rapid City Rush came back twice and Scott Wray scored the deciding goal in the shootout as the Denver Cutthroats fell by a 3-2 final on Friday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in front of a sellout crowd.

Sonja Erickson/Rapid City Rush

Jarrett Konkle and Damian Surma also scored in the shootout to give the Rush (8-6-1) the 3-1 edge in the tiebreaker. Gabe Gauthier scored Denver’s goal in the shootout off a deke move, which at the time tied the shootout at 1-1.

Brad Smyth and J.P. Chabot scored for Denver (6-7-1) in regulation while goaltender Kieran Millan made 37 saves in the loss. It was the first defeat by Denver in games going past regulation this season as the Fish came into Friday’s contest a perfect 2-0. Despite the loss, the Cutthroats took three of four points on the road in their two games at Rapid City. The Fish have also earned points in each of Millan’s past four starts going 3-0-1.

The Cutthroats took the first lead in the game with Smyth scoring with 3:57 left in the opening period on a rebound goal. Denver outshot Rapid City 11-8 in the first period, but the Rush would finish with more shots on goal overall at 40-25, including a 17-6 mark in the third period.

The game would stay 1-0 until Wray tied the contest at 10:05 of the second period, but the tie was short lived as Chabot scored on the power play 1:48 later to give the Cutthroats back the lead off a Rapid City turnover.

John Snowden tied the game at 2-2 for the Rush nine minutes into the third period.

Rapid City had a chance to take the lead late in the third period and early in overtime as they went on a four-minute power play after a double-minor penalty for high sticking by Chabot at 17:19 of the third. However, the Rush were unable to get the puck past Millan, who made crucial saves down the stretch to keep the contest knotted at 2-2.

With the final seconds ticking away in overtime, the Cutthroats had a late rush and scored on Rapid Cith netminder Danny Battochio, who made 23 saves on the night, but they were just one second too late as the horn sounded right before the puck crossed the goal line.

Both teams finished 1-fo-6 on the power play.

After playing two games in South Dakota, the Cutthroats and Rush series now moves to the Mile High City for games on Saturday and Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum.

Three Stars:
1. John Snowden (RPD)
2. Kieran Millan (DEN)
3. Danny Battochio (RPD)

Postgame Notes: The Cutthroats are now 3-1-1 in their past five games… Millan has given up two goals or less in each of his last four starts (3-0-1)… Millan’s 37-save night sets a new season-high for the Cutthroats… Rapid City goaltender Danny Battochio made his first appearance of the season for the Rush, after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year…

Recap courtesy of Denver Cutthroats