In a tight back-and-forth affair, the Rapids escaped with a narrow 11-9 victory over the Armory Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena in the UCBLL Semifinals.
Rioux Johnson (3+2) turned in a hat trick while Alec Constable (2+0), Heron Snow (1+1), Tyler Goode (1+3) and Lukas Stanat (2+0) all registered multi-point efforts for the Armory. Goaltender William Dempsey got the start in net and made 31 saves in the defeat.
Xavier Taylor posted a game-high six points (2+4) for the Rapids while Kellen Pulera (2+0), Austin Blumbergs (2+1) and Walker Popko (2+2) each tallied two goals apiece. Christian Watts (1+1), Keion Whitcomb and Benjamin Wilson added one goal in the win for the Rapids.
Netminder Connor Waller stopped 33 shots of the 41 he faced to earn the victory.
Despite being outscored 5-4 in the second half, the Rapids ultimately sealed the 11-9 win with a pair of power-play goals as Taylor capitalized on a penalty shot with 4:47 remaining in the contest before Popko scored nearly two minutes later.
The Armory trimmed the deficit as Stanat netted the final goal of the night and the Rapids held on for the win.
In the opening quarter, sandwiched between two Armory goals, the Rapids took a 4-2 lead going into the break as they scored three of the four in the final 4:30.
Constable started the second quarter with a goal at the 12:03 mark, however, Watts responded 1:08 later to make the score 5-3. While Johnson netted an unassisted goal, the Rapids tacked on two more to carry a three-goal lead into the half.
The Rapids began the third quarter with two goals, but the Armory went on a four-goal run to trim the score to 9-8 with 9:33 remaining in the contest.
Taylor and Popko both added two more Rapids markers while Stanat’s goal came with 1:49 to play.
With the victory, the Rapids will play the Hawkeyes tonight at 7 p.m. at the Classic Rink in East Aurora for the UCBLL Championship.