(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush and the Wichita Thunder met for the fourth time this season, and the first in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Friday night. Emotions were high in the Rush’s home arena, as they were participating in their 6th Annual “Pink at the Rink” game, honoring those women who have lost their fights to breast cancer, those who have survived their battles, and those who are still fighting today. At the end of the emotional 60 minutes, it would be the Rush who would prevail 6-3 over the Thunder, ending their winning streak at five games by riding the efforts of a 4-goal third period.
After a scoreless first period between both clubs, the floodgates would open in the second frame. At the end of the first period, the Rush would receive a five-on-three power play, and would cash in on the opportunity. The Rush scored first for the first time in a game since last Friday, as Scott Wray tipped in a Riley Weselowski shot to give the Rush a power play goal and a 1-0 lead just 1:42 into the period. The Thunder would answer the Rush goal moments later and tie the game up. Rush rookie Kyle Stroh would have a breakaway denied, and on the ensuing rush, Jared Walker would get around Rush defenseman Brett Kostolansky and score on rookie goaltender Keaton Hartigan to knot the game up at 1-1 with 7:22 left in the second. The Rush would have another power play later in the period, and make no mistake on the play. The puck took a hard bounce off of the back dasher board and came right in front of Taylor Nelson’s net, and Kyle Stroh was right in front to send it home for the Rush, giving them a 2-1 lead with 2:01 left in the middle frame. But the Thunder would once again respond, and would control the final two minutes of the period. 14 seconds after Kyle Stroh gave the Rush the lead, the Thunder erased it behind Matt Robinson’s goal off of a centering pass from Ian Lowe to tie the game at 2-2. Moments later, with 14.9 seconds left in the period, Thunder captain Andrew Martens would deflect a shot from Matt Summer past Hartigan to give Wichita the 3-2 lead heading into the final period of regulation.
Aided by a boisterous crowd to start the third, the Rush went back on attack mode, and would control the remainder of the game. 54 seconds into the period, Konrad Reeder would tie the game up at 3-3, giving the Rush virtually an entire period to work with in the hopes of ending the game in regulation. With arguably the play of the game with 9:32 left in the game, Winston Day Chief buried a Konrad Reeder pass behind Taylor Nelson to give the Rush the 4-3 lead. As time wound down and the Thunder pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, Jesse Schultz would take advantage of an empty net and practically seal the Rush win, giving them a 5-3 lead in the final minute. Before the clock struck triple-zero, Justin Faryna would tip in a Justin Sawyer shot past Nelson, giving the Rush a 6-3 shortly thereafter.
Keaton Hartigan stopped 18 shots on 21 faced for his seventh win of the season (7-5-0) in twelve appearances and eleven starts. Three Rush players recorded three-point nights, with Riley Weselowski recording 3 assists, and Jesse Schultz and Konrad Reeder adding a goal and 2 assists each. The Rush have now won their fourth in a row over the Thunder, ending their five game winning streak. With the win in tonight’s game, the Rush are now 4-2-0 in their past six “Pink at the Rink” matchups, winning their last two by a combined 10-4 score. Special teams was a major factor in the game, as the Rush power play went 2/5, and the penalty kill went 100% once again this season, stopping all three Wichita power plays. Both teams will square off in a rematch tomorrow night at 7:05 MST in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
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 year on Wednesday, February 19th, and will be held at 6 PM at Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. 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.