Sonja Erickson/Courtesy The Sundogs’ Mario Larocque (71) makes a move on Jordan Baker of the Rush Tuesday night in Rapid City.
The Daily Courier
After ruling their home ice to the tune of three straight wins in Prescott Valley last week, the Arizona Sundogs started perhaps their toughest travel road trip of the season with a loss Tuesday night.
The Sundogs lost 3-2 to the Rush before 4,030 fans packing the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D. Despite the loss that snapped their three-game winning streak - the franchise's longest in a year - the Sundogs kept hold of second-place in the CHL's Berry Conference.
The Rapid City meeting - their third with the Rush in the season's first 11 games - opened a busy road swing in a very short travel window for Arizona. The Sundogs will already travel to face the Cutthroats for a game in Denver Wednesday night, will face Denver again Friday, and will have a travel day/game day in Wichita against the Thunder on Saturday. The stretch will see them play four games in three states in five nights.
In Tuesday's road trip opener, the Sundogs' Chad Nehring provided all the offense. The 25-year-old forward out of Saskatchewan scored both of Arizona's goals on the night to boost his season total to eight in 11 games.
But it wasn't enough.
Nehring's goal in the last couple minutes before the end of the first period knotted the game at 1-1 after Rapid City struck first when Rusty Masters slipped one past Sundogs goalie David Brown midway through the opener.
The Rush, who split their two games with the Sundogs earlier this month in Prescott Valley, tacked on two more goals in the second period; the only period in which the host team would out-shoot the Sundogs (12-5) on the night.
Nehring took helpers from Derek LeBlanc and Zack Firlotte to cash in a goal midway through the third period to slice the deficit to one goal, but Rapid City goalie Tim Boron shut down Arizona's opportunities the rest of the way, turning away 28 of 30 shots overall.
The Sundogs failed to capitalize on all five of their power play opportunities on the night. The Rush made good on one of four chances with the man-advantage.
LeBlanc finished with two assists for Arizona.
The Sundogs will be happy to see the Cutthroats in Denver for two nights this week. Arizona just took three straight from the CHL expansion club on their home ice at Tim's last week, scoring 16 goals in the three-game series.