Carlson is making his first start in 17 months as the lethargic Rush was stifled by Kansas City

After rehabilitating from knee surgery that sidelined him for all of last season, goaltender Adam Carlson considered retirement and took on a coaching role off the bench for the Rapid City Rush.

He recovered but made it back to 100% and made his first start between the pipes since Saturday night, May 30, 2021 against the Kansas City Mavericks to begin his fourth season in the Rush organization.

He stopped 23 of 26 shots, turning away the last 15 that came his way, but his teammates didn’t help him much in his season debut at the other end of the ice in a 3-0 loss at The Monument Ice. Arena.

“It was good.” I got rid of the jitters early, which was nice,” Carlson said at the start of his seventh pro season. “A couple of bad rebounds early in the first, a couple of rebounds you want to get back, but otherwise I would have liked a better result, but I like where my game is.

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Rapid City’s Adam Carlson skates to the ice before the game against the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday night at The Monument Ice Arena.

Siandhara Bonnet, Journal Staff

Carlson made nine straight saves to open the contest, missing two shots that thankfully clanked off the iron, but 10. Tristan Mullin deflected a shot in front that skipped past Carlson’s raised glove and into the net to give the Mavericks (2-1-0) on board 17:59 into the match.

Kansas City was able to double its lead less than a second before the first intermission when Nick Pastujov poked a rebound past Carlson on the power play with 0.07 seconds left. Immediately after, the horn sounded, prompting the officials to review the play and quickly confirm the goal.

“I thought he was really good. He made some big saves,” Rush coach Scott Burt said. “I look back on those two goals, they were definitely difficult goals for the goalkeeper and it was unlucky.

Offensively, the Rush (2-2-0) managed just 18 shots as goaltender Shane Starrett and the Mavericks defense covered the net and got in front of pucks. It’s Rapid City’s first shutout loss since a 1-0 loss to the Tulsa Oilers in the penultimate game of the 2021-22 season on April 15.

“I think for us it was the ability to get pucks in the net,” Burt said. “They had a lot of shots blocked, so take that into account. They were in the lanes, we just couldn’t find a way to get the puck in the net. We had a lot of opportunities, we had a lot of A-grade opportunities, we just couldn’t get it there.”

The Rush also failed to capitalize on a trio of power-play chances and turned the tables on a power-play unit that produced a 27.3% efficiency through the first three games of the season. They came close in the second period after possession in the second period when Logan Nelson flicked a wrister on the far side to beat Starrett but his shot bounced off the right post.

They had another chance in the third off the hook when Calder Brooks slid a cross-ice pass to Jon Martin. Martin sent a shot on net that initially caused the Rush skaters to celebrate and appear to score a goal, but Starrett actually blocked the puck and lost the cookie in his pads.

“We looked pretty good,” Burt said. “We moved the puck well, we looked good, we just didn’t capitalize.

Carlson was pulled for another hitter with 1:17 to play in regulation. Shortly after, Pastujov won a drive on a loose puck in the Kansas City offensive zone and fired into the empty net with 1:06 left for his second goal of the night and his team’s third. Carlson was pulled again with less than a minute left in a desperation attempt, but the Mavericks were kept out this time.

“Burtie gave me a few opportunities to take a few games to get back into the swing of things and I think it was actually a pretty easy transition back into the game,” Carlson said. “Burtie knows what he’s doing and he knows how to deal with the situation, so it was like riding a bike.

The Rush hit the road next week for a three game series against the Idaho Steelheads in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Contact Matt Case at [email protected]

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