RAPID CITY, S.D. – The defending Central Hockey League champion Rapid City Rush took a 1-0 series lead with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Eagles in Game 1 of the Turner Conference Finals. The rivals played a low-scoring game before Rapid City added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to account for the final score.
Rapid City out-shot Colorado 18-10 in the first period, while going 1-3 on the power play to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The score could have easily been more lopsided if not for the stellar work of Kyle Jones in Colorado’s net.
On the opening period’s lone score, Les Reaney took over the league lead in goals at 13:52 when he received a diagonal pass through the offensive zone from Vladimir Hartinger and unleashed a shot from low in the right circle.
The second period saw much of the same as the Rush out-shot the Eagles 13-6 and got the only goal. At 5:33, Jesse Schultz sent a long lead pass to spring a rush into the offensive zone. After a drop pass between the circles, Jones was able to stop Reaney, but couldn’t prevent Josh Beaulieu from sweeping in the rebound.
Colorado finally got on the board at 4:08 of the third period when Steve Haddon, stationed on the doorstep, deflected an Adam Chorneyko shot from atop the right circle on the Eagles’ third-and-final power play opportunity of the night.
With Jones pulled for an extra attacker as the Eagles tried to tie the game late in the final frame, Colt King scored into the empty net from the right wing boards to ice the game for the home team.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday night in Rapid City.