RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Rush scored the final two goals of the game, including the game-winning tally with 18 seconds left regulation, to upend the Florida Everblades, 3-2, on Friday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Florida (27-8-5-0, 59 pts.) took a 2-1 lead just three minutes, 54 seconds into the third period, but Rapid City (16-21-2-3, 37 pts.) got a power-play goal from Garrett Klotz to tie the game and the game-winning score from Justin Faryna to halt the ‘Blades five-game winning streak.
With just four seconds left on their first power play of the night, the Rush found the back of the net to open the scoring. Standing at the right point, Chris Leibinger received a pass from Brayden Sherbinin and beat Florida goaltender Jamie Phillips with a shot upstairs at the 9:56 mark of the opening frame.
Matt Finn pulled the ‘Blades even with the only goal of the second period. John McCarron started the rush out of Florida’s defensive zone and located Mitch Vandergunst in the neutral zone. After Vandergunst fed it to Blake Winiecki at the left wing, Winiecki immediately dropped it back for Finn at the left point. Finn then hammered a slap shot over the glove of Rapid City netminder Adam Carlson with five minutes, 29 seconds gone in period two.
Shane Walsh put Florida ahead in the early stages of the third period, deflecting Logan Roe’s shot from the right point to make it a 2-1 lead less than four minutes into the third.
But on the Rush’s third power play of the game, Klotz pulled Rapid City even by finding the puck at the side of the net on a net-mouth scramble and shovelling it past Phillips.
Alec Baer helped create the game-winning sequence from the far goal line and located Faryna crashing the net at the top of the crease. Off a feed from Baer, Faryna lifted the puck over Phillips to send Rapid City to its first home win since Dec. 21.
Phillips stopped 21 shots and suffered just his fifth loss of the season, while Carlson made 30 saves in the win.
Florida will go for the series victory in the finale of the three-game set on Saturday night at 9:05 p.m. ET.
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes