(Photo by Kevin Pyle – www.photopyle.com)
Jeff Brucculeri: Back with you here in Rapid City, South Dakota. As the Tulsa Oilers get set to take on the Rapid City Rush. The Rush is appropriately named between the rush being a hockey term. A two on one rush up the ice. That kind of thing. Also with Mount Rushmore nearby, in fact a few of us had a chance to go see Mount Rushmore yesterday. That was really cool. I enjoyed that. Another check off on the bucket list of items. I have been to South Dakota before but as I mentioned to the other part of the state, Eastern part of the state, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, several times. But never to this part of South Dakota. Never had a chance to go see Mount Rushmore before yesterday. Yesterday four of us drove out there and went and saw Mount Rushmore at sunset, so we saw it both in the daylight and dark after the sun went down, which was really cool because they have it lit up at night. That was kind of neat to be able to go out there and see that, what a national monument that is.
All right, we’re getting set for the opening face off, you haven’t missed anything yet, they’re getting started quite a bit late here this evening as it is not 7 minutes after the hour. Getting started a little late but they will none the less get it started here soon I hope. We’ve had the player introductions, we’ve had Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem was sung. They had a ceremonial puck drop, now they’ve got a first pitch that is being thrown out, literally, a baseball being thrown by a baseball coach here locally to the goaltender, Battochio of Rapid City. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight, this coach is the head coach of the American Legion team here, locally, who went quite a ways in the national tournament this year and just missed going to the championship by one game. Losing, it was a double elimination and they lost both of the games on the final day. They had to win only one of the two and unfortunately they lost both of the games on the final day of the tournament to go to the Championship. The National championship. None the less they are honoring that American Legion team here tonight and the head coach was just out there throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Danny Battachio will be in goal tonight for the Rapid City Rush. He did not play the other night, it was Marotta, Sam Marotta, the goaltender that was in the goal on Thursday evening. Battochio will be in goal tonight. He has seen most of the work for Rapid City, as I mentioned, this year having played in 16 games with a record of 8-6-2. A 2.80 GAA and a 91.2% save percentage.
Now they turn the lights on and I can see, we’re going to get this thing started at center ice. Tulsa Oilers Christophe Lalancette will take the draw for the Oilers and he does so against Destry Straight. The puck goes into the Rapid City zone and now slapped all the way into the Tulsa end and it’s going to be a quick icing call against the Rush right off the bat. An icing against the Rush and they’ll take the puck all the way back down into the far end, in the Rapid City end. It’ll be to the right of the goaltender Battochio where they will take the face off. And they drop the puck, it comes out to the blue line, Nathan Lutz sends it toward the goal, it gets deflected by the goaltender, off his stick. Pass out in front they slap at it, try to get it loose now it looks like it goes in the goal light goes on.
The Oilers are celebrating, not seeing any indication by the referee but I believe so. Count it good for the Oilers. Wow. Quite a lot of confusion down there but the Oilers scored. That puck comes out in front as they batted at it and they started poking at it, I never saw the referee point at the goal but the goal light came on. The Oilers have scored that quickly here, only 19 seconds into the first period. Man. That was confusing to watch. I’ll be honest, we’re at the far end of the arena from where that goal is so I could not tell how that went in or who got the last touch on it or what.
Here’s the announcement. It’s going to be Christophe Lalancette assisted by Lutz and Blomqvist on the assists. Christophe Lalancette got that puck after it came off the boards behind the goal and it came out in front and apparently he’s the one who whacked at it a couple of times and it finally went underneath Battochio and into the net. Count it good for Christophe Lalancette. The Tulsa Oilers are on the board early, just 19 seconds in this first period of play. 1-0 Tulsa with the quick lead.
Puck goes into the Rapid City zone, it’s behind the goal, now around to the far side. The Oilers keep it in there, Brewer sends it toward the goal now into the corner. They try a centering pass it’s intercepted, played away, here come the Rush, on a rush. A two on one up the ice, a shot goes off the glass, stays in play, around to the near side. Along the boards on the near side, Melindy can’t control it, now it’s picked up by one of his teammates who sends it over to the far side, Kerbashian there. He gets it behind the net to Day Chief, Day Chief behind the goal gets bumped, loses control of the puck, picks it back up, a pass in front and Kerbashian’s shot on goal, Carr catches it and he’ll hang on, we’ll get a face off in the Tulsa zone.