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PUSKAR BREAKS TIE LATE TO GIVE THUNDER WIN

Saturday, February 17th
PUSKAR BREAKS TIE LATE TO GIVE THUNDER WIN

(WICHITA, KS) – Jon Puskar broke a 1-1 deadlock with 3:32 left in regulation as part of a two-point night to help the Wichita Thunder defeat the Rapid City Rush by a 3-1 score for a second consecutive night on Saturday evening. Wichita, both by 3-1 scores, has won the first two games of a three-in-three series against the Rush that will conclude tomorrow afternoon.

The Rush opened up the scoring entries in their re-match with Wichita and carried the lone strike into the intermission. With 1:37 remaining in the first, Pavel Jenys carried the puck over the Wichita blue line and rifled a shot on Thunder goalie Nick Riopel from the near side of the zone. Riopel made the initial save, but Andrew Miller was all alone in front and pocketed the loose change to give the Rush a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room (Jenys and Daniel Leavens assisted).

Over the midway point of the second, Wichita squared the game up with the only goal of the frame, thus carrying a deadlock into the final period. With 7:12 remaining in the second, Guillaume Lepine took a shot from the blue line on the near side of the Rush zone that whizzed by a screened Christian Frey manning the Rush net, tying the game at 1-1 heading into the final 20 minutes (Jon Puskar and Nick Latta notched the assists).

For the vast majority of the third period, it seemed that overtime was on the horizon. Puskar and the Thunder, however, had a different idea in mind and broke the deadlock in the final minutes of the game. With 3:32 remaining in regulation, Ralph Cuddemi launched a shot on Frey that he negated with a masterful blocker save, but Puskar nailed the kill shot on the back door, potting the rebound by the rookie net-minder to give Wichita a 2-1 advantage (Cuddemi and Kevin Patterson assisted). The Rush couldn’t muster a tying goal with Frey out of his net in favor of the extra-attacker. A shot from the blue line was gloved by Riopel in net, and he elected to play it to Lepine to his left, which was followed by Lepine launching the puck from nearly 200-feet (in front of his goal line) into the empty Rush net with 53.5 seconds left, sealing a 3-1 Wichita win.

Christian Frey stopped 26 of 29 shots in net, suffering the defeat (2-9-1).

The Rush conclude their series with the Thunder tomorrow afternoon, with puck drop for Sunday, February 18th game at INTRUST Bank Arena slated for 3:05 p.m. MST.

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