A sluggish second-half performance by the Hawkeyes combined with an offensive surge from the Rapids was enough to hand the Hawkeyes a 15-13 loss Wednesday at Genesee Valley Sports Complex.
They could not extend their lead enough and eventually fell to the fourth quarter tidal wave from the Rapids. The Hawkeyes were led by the trio of Nick Miller (4+3), Rocco Santillo (2+1), and Zach Terry (4+1).
The Hawkeyes tried to come out and establish themselves with a goal from Terry to start things out, but the Rapids snapped a four-goal run led by Connor Boss and Kellen Pulera. Miller kicked the Hawkeyes into gear and flipped a five-goal run that carried into the second quarter.
Santillo from the right wing and Miller from the point created three consecutive power-play goals from the last minute of the first quarter through the first nine minutes of the second. Three minutes later, Colt Green scored a jaw-dropping, highlight reel goal. After a missed shot bounced off the bottom of the wall high in the air, Green jumped straight up to grab the rebound, spun in midair and somehow one-handed a shot in the bottom left corner, leaving fans speechless.
The Hawkeyes drew their lead out more and went into the half up 8-5, capped off by a behind-the-back goal from Miller with 3.7 seconds left.
The third quarter was where the Hawkeyes seemingly ran out of momentum, as the offense only managed one goal while the defense allowed three. Aaron Tebo led the defense and had a standout performance.
The Rapids final wave came over the fourth. A 7-4 split in the quarter was the downfall of the Hawkeyes, as the offense couldn’t put it together in the final moments that counted, and goaltender Kyle Meagher was unable to duplicate the big stops the way his Rapids counterpart was.
The Hawkeyes stalled in a similar format the last time these teams played but they were able to hang on that time. This time they were not so lucky.
The Hawkeyes will have a chance at redemption against the Rapids when the teams clash again on Monday, July 11 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. Game time is slated for a 6:00 p.m. start.