RAPID CITY, S.D. -- The Komets either aren't sure, or aren't saying, who scored the game-winning goal and how Saturday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Credit for the goal, though, went to center Colin Chaulk, who put the Komets up by one with 2:06 remaining in what wound up a 3-1 victory.
That evened the best-of-seven Turner Conference semifinals at one gamne apiece, with the next three at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne beginning Wednesday.
Forward Chris Auger came out from behind the Rush net and took a shot on goaltender Tim Boron. The puck caromed into the air, chaos ensued and it wound up just over the goal line for a one-goal lead with 2:06 remaining.
Chaulk said after the game he never touched it.
Rapid City coach Joe Ferras argued, unsuccessfully, that Chaulk illegally batted it in with his glove.
Auger didn’t have a clue.
“It was just battling in front of the net,” Chaulk said. “It went straight up into the air, I had position on their (defenseman) and it just went in. I didn’t touch it.”
Auger’s description was: “I lost my glove on the way to the net, but I was able to get some room and I started jamming at it. Before I knew it, I was at the side of the net and the puck was in. I didn’t know what they were complaining about. … The last I saw, it went off the shin pads of one of their players and went into the net.”
Ferras was less diplomatic.
“I’ve got to see the video but Chaulk was telling us he batted it in. That’s what he was saying on the ice,” Ferras said. “If that’s the case, then what a way to ruin a tremendous hockey game.”
Boucher stopped 30 of 31 shots, including a second-period penalty shot by Jesse Shultz, who scored earlier on a breakaway.
Boron stopped 24 of 26 shots.
The Komets are the top-seeded team in the conference and Rapid City is fourth, but the series has an unusual 2-3-1-1 format because Disney on Ice was at the Coliseum.
Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock also scored for Fort Wayne and Brett Smith had an empty-net goal to cement the victory in front of 4,024 fans.