(WICHITA, KS) – Darik Angeli brough the Rapid City Rush within striking distance with less than five minutes to play in the second period, but the Wichita Thunder, led by Zach O’Brien’s 3-point night and Kyle Platzer’s 2-point showing, took down the Rush in their first road contest of the year by a 3-1 score on Saturday night.
Wichita started the scoring entries for the game, and left the first period with a 2-0 lead. The first goal of the contest came from Kyle Platzer of Wichita, who took the puck towards the Rush net and, after being denied by Rush net-minder Christian Frey on his first attempt, picked up the rebound and elevated it over his blocker-side shoulder to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead with 10:33 gone by in the period (Samuel Labrecque and Zach O’Brien assisted). With 2:16 left in the period, Matt DeBlouw carried the puck down the far side of the Rush zone and behind the net, then found O’Brien in the low slot on an east-west centering pass. O’Brien then fired a wrist shot under Frey’s glove to extend the Thunder lead to 2-0 heading into the intermission (DeBlouw and Guillaume Asselin notched the assists).
Two goals were scored in the second period, one by each side. Darik Angeli brought the Rush within one when he took a Michael Young pass in the neutral zone and skated towards the Thunder net. Angeli powered to the net, blew out an edge, and still managed to get a shot on Thunder goaltender Joel Rumpel, banking the puck off of his glove and in to get the Rush on the board, trailing 2-1 with 3:42 left in the second (Young earned the lone assist). It looked like the Rush would trail by one heading into the intermission, but Wichita struck just before the period concluded. With 11.6 seconds left, the Rush failed to get the puck out of their zone, and Kyle Platzer had time and space to work the puck to the blue line. He found Guillaume Lepine, who fired a shot towards Frey’s net that was deflected in by Zach O’Brien, giving the latter his second of the game and his Thunder club a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission (Platzer and Lepine assisted).
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw in the third period, despite multiple Rush chances in the final frame. When all was said and done, the Thunder handed the Rush their third consecutive loss, with 3-1 serving as the final score.
Christian Frey suffered the loss and stopped 31 of 34 shots on net, playing in 58:24 of regulation (0-2-0).
The Rush rematch the Thunder tomorrow afternoon at INTRUST Bank Arena, with puck drop slated for 3:05 p.m. MST.