Nine goals against and two goaltenders on the bench made for a miserable hockey night on Sunday at Monument Ice Arena.
The forwards collided with a hot goalie, but the defender was unruly and Dave Tendeck and Hayden Stewart were ineffective between the posts as Rapid City Rush suffered their worst loss in more than two years, 9-1, against the Iowa Heartlanders to wrap up a three-game streak and wrap up an otherwise encouraging seven-game homestand.
“We talked about (our discipline) at the start of the game and in the meetings, and obviously that wasn’t highlighted on the ice,” said Rush head coach Scott Burt. “I will take full responsibility for everything. I did not prepare my players to play.
The Heartlanders (11-17-4) scored three goals in the first 17 minutes, prompting Burt to put Tendeck on the bench, who had only seen 10 shots so far. Tendeck returned to the ice after Stewart, making his Rush debut, allowed four more goals in 17 minutes on 15 shots. Tendeck played the remaining 4:09 of the second period before Stewart resumed play for the third and allowed two more goals.
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“In a game like tonight, you’re just trying to do what you can to try and find a spark,” Burt said. “It was difficult not only for our goalies, but also for our coaching staff, as well as for our players. This is a difficult question that we are going to have to swallow.
The Rush (14-14-5) actually passed the Heartlanders 40-37 but only managed to get one against Corbin Kaczperski; A shot on reception from Gabriel Chabot in the third period. Logan Nelson blasted Kaczperski with seven shots, while Brett Gravelle, who had an assist on Chabot’s goal, had six shots. Rapid City is finishing a seven-game home game with eight of 14 possible points heading into the middle of the season. The loss is the franchise’s biggest since Nov. 16, 2019, when it fell 10-1 to the Kansas City Mavericks.
“For me it wasn’t good enough,” Burt said of the last seven games. “We will re-evaluate our last homestand here and try to focus on Wichita on Thursday night.”
Iowa didn’t score for almost the first seven minutes until a timid shot from Zach Remers deflected from a Rapid City skate, took an unlucky rebound and sailed 6:55 from the First period. Cole Stallard needed less than two more minutes to make it 2-0, scoring a wide open shot from Tendeck’s blocker after making a pass behind the net.
After Jack Billings was left alone with the puck and slammed a far side of Tendeck, the 22-year-old goaltender was taken out. Stewart didn’t bring much relief, however, as he let a dazzling reception shot from Jake Smith pass from the left-wing circle on a 5-on-3 with 15.5 seconds left in the opening frame.
Smith scored his second goal at 1:07 of the second period as another 5 on 3 came to an end. Stallard scored a breakaway chance at 11:29 and Billings deflected in a shot from the blue line at 3:51 pm, sending Stewart back to the bench.
Chabot’s third goal helped the Rush avoid their third shutout of the season. The 5-foot-8-inch native of Quebec fired a shot on Gravelle’s reception from the high lunge and hit the back of the net at 4:10.
Stewart’s second return to the net didn’t turn out to be more successful as Joe Widmar passed his glove at 5:12 and Smith completed the assault with a lunge goal to pull off a hat trick and finish a five. – punctual performances.
The Rush travel to Kansas for a three-game series against the Wichita Thunder (11-16-4) Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They will return home to face the Idaho Steelheads on January 21.
Contact Matt Case at [email protected]