From the Cutthroats:

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It was a thrilling close to the calendar year as the Denver Cutthroats fell to the rival Rapid City Rush in a five-round shootout on Monday night in front of a sold out crowd at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Despite the shootout loss, Denver pulls within two points of second-place Wichita in the Central Hockey League standings. Both teams traded goals through the first two periods and battled through a scoreless third period and overtime before the Rush (15-12-5) won the shootout, 4-2.

Rusty Masters won the shootout with a goal in round five for Rapid City. It was the fifth shootout this season between the Cutthroats (18-11-3) and Rush. Denver has won three of them and is now 7-3-2 against Rapid City this season. AJ Gale, Brad Smyth, and Troy Schwab each finished with two points for the Fish.

Jared Brown opened up the game’s scoring midway through the first period off a loose puck to the right side of the crease. Gale then knotted things up in the final minute after Schwab’s feed led him through the left circle and towards the net for his team-leading 19th of the season.

Rapid City jumped in front again in period two with a goal from Jordan Baker at 12:08, but the Fish tied things up again late as Schwab scored his 10th of the year carrying the puck from behind the net and in front for a backhand shot.

Kent Patterson stopped 36 shots in the loss, and is now 8-1-1 in his last 10 games. Danny Battochio earned the win for Rapid City stopping 33 of 35.

Both teams were scoreless on the power play. Brown, Jesse Schultz, and Jeff Lee also scored in the shootout for Rapid City. Chris Greene and Schwab each scored for Denver in the extra frame.

The Cutthroats continue their month-long road trip on Friday when they visit the Quad City Mallards for the first-ever meetings between the two clubs. Game time is set for 6:05 PM MST.

Three Stars:
1. Danny Battochio (RPD)
2. Kent Patterson (DEN)
3. Jeff Lee (RPD)

What do you think of the Cutthroats in 2012?