Through thirteen matchups this season, the Rush had been outscored by the Cutthroats 13-1 in the first period. However, the Rush kept the opening period scoreless despite playing three games in three nights and having to travel overnight for the afternoon tilt.
Denver came firing back early in the third period, beginning with Gabe Gauthier’s 10th of the year just 1:01 into the frame. Less than three minutes later, AJ Gale potted his league-leading 38th goal of the season with a laser of a slapshot from the left circle, evening the score at 2-2. The Rush responded at 8:09 when Justin Faryna scored his fourth goal of the season and his third point in as many games. However, midway through the third, Brad Smyth redirected a shot from Joel Chouinard while on the powerplay to tie the score and force extra time.
In the eventual shootout, Danny Battochio denied five if the six shooters faced while Jesse Schultz’ conversion set up Wray for the game winner, giving Rapid City the 4-3 win.
The Rush now need just one point to secure a postseason spot for the fourth consecutive season.
The Rush now play their final five games of the 2012-13 regular season on home ice, beginning with two games versus the Tulsa Oilers this weekend. Friday is the 5th-annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration while Saturday’s game will feature a poster giveaway and post-game autograph signing. Tickets are available by calling the Rush office at 716-7825 or at gotmine.com.