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STEFANOVICHS HAT-TRICK CAPS OFF RUSH OUTBURST OVER WICHITA

Tuesday, December 8th
STEFANOVICHS HAT-TRICK CAPS OFF RUSH OUTBURST OVER WICHITA

(RAPID CITY, SD) – Twelve players from the Rapid City Rush inked themselves on the scoresheet led by the four-point night of Mikhail Stefanovich, who notched his second hat-trick of the season, in a 7-2 thrashing of the Wichita Thunder on Tuesday night.

Wichita earned the first of the nine total scoring entries between both clubs in the early stages of the contest. With 3:47 gone by in the first period, Michael Neal encroached on the Rush net and snuck the puck by Rush rookie netminder, Marek Langhamer, and put the Thunder up 1-0 (Mason Baptista and Dean Chelios recorded the assists). It would be the only offense of the game for just over two full periods of play for the Thunder, who saw the Rush even the score just over the midway point of the first. With 7:02 left on the clock, Cody Ferriero took a loose puck on the Thunder blue line and played catch with his captain, Winston Day Chief, as they crept closer to the Wichita net and Dave Shawntz. Day Chief deferred to Ferriero at the last moment, and he zipped a one-timer by Shawntz to lock the game at 1-1 (Day Chief and Brett Kostolansky received the assists).

It would appear after 20 minutes that both teams would be in for a close fight, but the Rush blew the ceiling off of Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center with four goals in the middle stanza in the span of 9:57 of game time. The first ignition of the goal lamp came at the 2:02 mark of the second period, as in the midst of the first Rush power play of the game, Mikhail Stefanovich ripped a wrist shot from the near wall of the attacking zone through traffic in front of the Wichita net, past Shawntz, and off the post and in, giving the Rush a 2-1 lead (Michael Young and Cody Ferriero received the assists-Ferriero’s second point of the game). Stefanovich followed with his second goal of the contest at the 8:06 mark of the frame as he took a neutral zone pass from Destry Straight and skated down an open lane on a breakaway, beating Shawntz to increase the Rush lead to 3-1 (Straight recorded an assist, while Kostolansky earned his second assist on the play as well). Exactly 1:19 later, on the final Rush power play of the game, Stefanovich sent a shot off of Shawntz and in his crease for Day Chief to clean up. The tuck, the second point of the game for Day Chief at this juncture in the game, afforded the Rush a 4-1 lead (Stefanovich recorded his third point of the game with his assist, while Kale Kerbashian recorded his first point of the game with the other assist). Following the goal, Shawntz was replaced by Grant Rollheiser in the Wichita net, and he conceded Spencer Pommells’ sixth goal of the year just two and a half minutes removed from the previous tally to give the Rush a 5-1 lead after two periods (Jimmy Bonneau and Zach Cohen received the assists).

The Thunder came back early in the third to cut the deficit to three on Dean Chelios’ goal with 4:22 gone by in the third period, bringing the count to 5-2 on his poke by Langhamer (Mason Baptista earned his second assist, while Michael Neal recorded his second point of the game with his first helper). With 6:45 to go in the game, Stefanovich sent the crowd into a frenzy as he completed his second hat-trick of the season three weeks apart with his goal on Rollheiser that afforded the Rush a 6-2 advantage (Straight earned his second assist of the affair, while Daniel Barczuk added his first on the goal). For good measure, Winston Day Chief added a second tally and third point of the game with 92 seconds left in the contest, banking a shot off of the inside of Rollheiser’s leg and in to bring the score to its eventual final of 7-2 (Taylor Doherty garnered the lone assist).

Marek Langhamer won the fourth of his last five starts with 24 saves on 26 shots (5-2-1). Twelve Rush players earned points in the game, and five earned two or more by the end of regulation.

The Rush are back in action this weekend as they host the Quad City Mallards for the first time since Game 7 of the 2015 ECHL Central Division Semifinal playoff series last April. Puck drop for both Friday and Saturday, December 11th and 12th, is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST. Saturday’s game features the 8th Annual Teddy Bear Toss.

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Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game! Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this season through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.

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