January 31, 2012
Dayton, OH – The Dayton Gems would see a three goal lead erased in the third period and eventually fall in a controversial shootout by a final score of 4-3 on Cassano’s Italian Ice inside the historic Hara Arena on Tuesday evening. Scoring for the Gems were Brett Lutes, Tim Hartung and Kyle Bochek.
Settling in after a scoreless and scrappy first period, the Gems would find their stride early in the middle frame to take the game’s first lead off the stick of Gems all star forward Brett Lutes just :12 in. Tim Hartung would extend the Dayton lead to two at the 5:55 mark with his 8th goal of the season unassisted before Kyle Bochek, in his first game back in the Gems lineup after serving a one game suspension from last Friday night’s win over the Rush, would bury an unassisted lamplighter of his own at the 13:24 mark to lead his team into the second intermission ahead 3-0. Shots on goal through forty minutes favored the hometown Gems 23-22.
Looking to finish their last game this regular season against the Gems, Joe Ferras and his Rush came out flying in the third, controlling the flow before beginning to chip away at the Dayton lead with their first goal of the night past starting netminder Larry Sterling at 8:10. Continuing to apply pressure in the Gems defensive end, the Rush cut the Dayton lead down to one with another even strength goal at 16:25 before equalizing the game with a stunning last minute goal with just :36 left in regulation to force an overtime period. Shots in the third would see the Rush edge the Gems 12-6 for a sixty minute total of 34-29 Rapid City.
The Hara Arena crowd would be treated to an end to end sudden death overtime period, but neither team would be able to put it away before the horn.
Controversy and anger turned towards the officials after the Rush were permitted a second attempt on their first shooter, which scored. Sterling turned his attention towards the officials, who eventually ejected the netminder from the game and giving newly acquired backup Mark Sibbald his first appearance as a Gem. Despite a valiant effort by the Gems, Rapid City would outscore the Gems in the shootout to secure the tough 4-3 shootout loss.
With the loss, the Gems improve their record to 15-19-8 and finish their regular season series with the Rush 2-2-2.
The Gems return to action on Saturday night when they travel to the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana for an evening showdown with the Fort Wayne Komets at 8pm.
The Kettering Medical Center is the official presenting sponsor of the Dayton Gems.