(WICHITA, KS) – The Wichita Thunder scored five goals in the first 11:25 of the game, including 2 power play tallies and a shorthanded strike, to defeat the Rapid City Rush by a 5-2 score on Sunday afternoon.
Wichita took control early in the contest and didn’t let up, scoring in every phase of the game. Scoring started exactly 2 minutes into the game when the Rush surrendered their first power play goal of the season to Jeremy Beaudry. Travis Brown found Beaudry open on a d-to-d pass in the Rush zone, and Beaudry blasted a one-timer by Rush goaltender Christian Frey to give Wichita a 1-0 lead (Brown and Kyle Platzer assisted the goal). Wichita capitalized just over four minutes later on the first Rush power play of the game, doubling their lead with a shorthanded tally. With 6:06 gone by in the game, a blue-line pass in the Wichita zone was intercepted by Platzer, who went from his blue-line down the ice uncontested. He deked by Frey and tucked the puck behind him to give the Thunder a 2-0 advantage (the goal was unassisted). One minute and a dozen seconds later, Travis Ewanyk banked a Guillaume Asselin pass from behind the net by Frey, resulting in a 3-0 Wichita lead with 7:12 played in the contest (Asselin and Louick Marcotte notched the assists). Following the goal, Rush goaltender Christian Frey was replaced by Storm Phaneuf for the remainder of regulation, and Rush defenseman Michael Sdao was assessed a “5 and a 10” for fighting and aggressing with Ewanyk, and did not play for the remainder of the game. The “5 and 10” resulted in a five-minute major power play for Wichita, and Platzer managed to score his second goal of the night in the ensuing advantage just 48 seconds following the altercation giving Wichita a 4-0 lead (Matt DeBlouw and Travis Brown assisted). Shortly after the goal, Mark MacMillan was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking, which negated Wichita’s five-minute power play, but the period of four-on-four that ensued benefitted Wichita and resulted in their final goal on the scoresheet. With 8:35 left in the first, Guillaume Asselin and Wichita captain Dyson Stevenson went into the Rush zone, two-on-one on defenseman Michael Young. Young blocked Asselin’s original pass to Stevenson, but in the unluckiest of fashions for Young, the puck rolled right back to Asselin, who didn’t make a mistake on his second attempt. He found the captain on the backdoor, and Stevenson blasted a shot by Phaneuf to make it 5-0 Wichita.
The Rush followed the period with a spirited second frame, holding Wichita to just 2 shots on goal in the middle act, while also managing to reach the scoreboard. On the third Rush power play of the game, Darik Angeli deflected an Ian Brady pass from the low slot by Wichita goaltender Shane Starrett for his second goal in as many games and third of the season, bringing the Rush deficit to 5-1 with 12:54 left in the second (Brady and Dylan Labbe had the helpers). The Rush only managed Angeli’s tally until the final frame when Alex Kromm batted a Jimmy DeVito pass in front of Starrett and in to cut the deficit to 5-2 with 14:36 left in the game (DeVito and Marcus Ortiz notched the assists). Despite outshooting Wichita 18-11 in the last two periods of play, the Rush couldn’t muster any more goals and fell ultimately by a 5-2 final score.
Christian Frey stopped 3 of 6 shots in 7:12 of his start (0-3-0) before giving way to Storm Phaneuf, who stopped 14 of 16 shots in 51:57 of relief.
The Rush now engage their archrivals, the Colorado Eagles in a home-and-home series, starting in Colorado on Friday, October 27th. Puck drop at the Budweiser Events Center is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.