RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Colorado Eagles defeated the rival Rapid City Rush, 7-3, on the strength of four power play goals. The win puts the two teams in a tie for first place in the Turner Conference, however Colorado has a game in hand. With the win, the Eagles went 9-3-0 in the season series against the defending champs.
Colorado jumped out to a 2-0 lead in just over six minutes. The Eagles struck first at 1:31 on the power play when Scott May was able to put home an Adam Chorneyko rebound from the right side of the crease. And the two connected again at 6:06 when May found Chorneyko down the left wing on a 3-on-2 rush before the rookie forward beat Danny Battochio from below the left circle.
After the Eagles had out-shot the Rush 13-7 in the first period, four power plays helped Rapid City to a 12-6 shot advantage in the second period. It was Colorado, however, that struck first with its second power-play goal (in as many chances) on the night. At 4:32, Adam Hogg, stationed in front of the net, was able to deflect a Kyle Peto point shot past Battochio.
Tim Boron then replaced Battochio in net for the Rush after the latter had stopped 13 of 16 shots in 24:32 of action. It marked the second game in a row between the two teams that the Eagles had chased the CHL’s reigning Rookie of the Year.
Rapid City, however, was awarded a full 5-on-3 shortly thereafter, and it took them just 18 seconds to take advantage and get on the scoreboard. At 6:27, Colt King poked home a rebound off a Brendon Hodge blast from the left point. Colorado went back up by three at 13:31 when Daymen Rycroft swooped through the slot and cleaned up a Kevin Ulanski rebound. But at 18:44, Gio Flamminio sent the puck on net from the right point and Scott Wray was able to deflect it past Kyle Jones to cut the Eagles lead in half heading into the third period.
Rapid City drew within a goal at 1:08 of the third period when Wray got his second goal in a row off another deflection in front of the net — this one off a Dave Grimson point blast. But that’s as close as the Rush would get as May picked up his second goal of the night — and made Colorado a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play — with a nearly identical goal as his first, midway through the final frame.
The Eagles continued to pull away, making it 6-3 at 14:12, when May won a faceoff in the left circle of the offensive zone and Dan Sullivan tipped home a Peto blast from the point. Chorneyko capped off the scoring with his second goal of the game at 17:24 when he took a pass from Ulanski and skated to the high slot before picking his spot past Boron for the Eagles’ fourth power-play marker.
With the score 7-3, a series of fights broke out in the final minute of play between the heated rivals.
The Eagles will bus home overnight in preparation for a game Wednesday at the Budweiser Events Center against the Laredo Bucks. The game will mark the 300th consecutive sellout (including playoffs) in franchise history — a minor pro hockey record.
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