(WICHITA, KS) – Saturday night marked a rematch between the Wichita Thunder and the Rapid City Rush in INTRUST Bank Arena. The Thunder looked to avenge their most recent 4-1 loss to the Rush from last night and earn their first win at home in this young season. Their efforts would be thwarted, however, and the Rush would come out with a gritty 4-2 win, thanks to a late surge sparked by Jesse Schultz’ game-winner with just over three and a half minutes left in regulation.
The first period saw Wichita come storming out of the gate, with quality chances coming to the Thunder within the first few minutes of the opening frame, including an unsuccessful power play opportunity. The Rush would gain a power play of their own, but would not convert the chance, leading to a string of solid end-to-end action, despite both teams totaling for 11 shots in the first period. Just as both teams thought they would head to their respective locker rooms with a scoreless tilt on their hands, Winston Day Chief would light the goal lamp with 26.1 seconds left in the period on a great pass from Jesse Schultz to put the Rush up 1-0. Going into the locker room, the Rush had the lead they were looking for, despite limited chances by both clubs.
As the second period progressed, the physicality of the game escalated. Rapid City would go to the box for four minutes, as Sean Erickson would get called for a double-minor for high sticking, and Wichita would finally find their stride. Moments into their elongated man-advantage, former Rush forward R.G. Flath would score a power play goal to put the Thunder on the board and tie the game at 1-1 with 14:48 left in the middle frame. Wichita would capitalize on the remainder of the double-minor exactly 1:19 later and score once again on the man-advantage, this time Jon Booras breaking the goal line, giving the Thunder a 2-1 lead over the Rush. However, the Rush would be the beneficiaries of a similar high sticking call, and receive their own double-minor power play. It would prove to be extremely useful, as Tristin Llewellyn would tie the game at 2-2 with 6:13 left in the second period. Hostilities would fly, as Scott Brannon and R.G Flath would drop the gloves, and then Rush captain Scott Wray would have some words for his former teammate Garrett Gruenke. That aggression would carry over into the final twenty minutes of the game.
The third period would see more of the same: physical play escalating, but the tide of the game would turn. It would take roughly sixteen minutes of play to break the deadlock, but Jesse Schultz would get his second point of the night, scoring on a perfect pass from Konrad Reeder to give the Rush a 3-2 lead with 3:39 left in regulation. However, the Rush were not out of harm’s way, as Brett Kostolansky would get called for slashing with roughly three minutes left in regulation, giving the Thunder an opportunity to even the game with a man-advantage and an extra attacker with a pulled goaltender. They would be unable to convert, and storming out of the penalty box with an empty net was Kostolansky, who would bury the opportunity to seal the game with his first career professional goal, to give the Rush a 4-2 win.
Wichita is the last team in the CHL to successfully defend their home ice, going 0-7-2 on the season in INTRUST Bank Arena. Tim Boron stopped 23 shots for his eleventh win of the year (11-1-0). The Rush would have two firsts tonight: Brett Kostolansky would score his first professional goal, and Sean Erickson would record his first point in a Rush uniform. Jesse Schultz, Konrad Reeder, and Winston Day Chief all kept their point streaks alive tonight and have extended them to 9, 9, and 5 games respectively. The Rush return back to the Black Hills to take on their geographical rivals, the Denver Cutthroats, in three games in four nights next week, starting Wednesday November 27th.
Other Rush News:
Other Rush News: Season tickets for the 2013-14 season are available now by calling the Rush office at 716-7825
Don’t forget to join Mark Binetti, “Voice of the Rush”, and Head Coach/GM Joe Ferras for “The Rush Hour with Coach Ferras”, presented by Miller Lite. The show returns to the air next Monday, November 25th, and will be held at 6 PM at H2O Bar and Grill. The show is broadcast on 100.3 The FOX, the official radio home of your Rapid City Rush
Stay informed on Rush happenings through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.