(RAPID CITY, S.D.) - Jake Wahlin scored twice, Dillon Kelley made 32 saves and Brett Gravelle had a goal and two assists as the Rapid City Rush beat the Idaho Steelheads, 5-2, Friday night at The Monument Ice Arena. The Rush extended their winning streak to a season-high four games in the victory.
The Rush opened the scoring in the first period as Wahlin grabbed the puck at the blue line and fired a shot on net. It sailed through traffic and beat a screened Jake Kupsky to put Rapid City on top, 1-0.
They added to that lead later in the first when Logan Nelson carried the puck through center and snapped it to Gravelle on the left wing. Gravelle then hit Nelson who was crashing the net and he deked from his forehand to his backhand. Nelson roofed the shot past Kupsky, extending the advantage to 2-0.
In the second period, with Rapid City on the power play, Nelson snapped a pass to Stephen Baylis at the left circle. He slung a wrist shot toward the front of the net that deflected off of Wahlin and in to make it 3-0.
The Rush grabbed another insurance marker in the third period as Callum Fryer sent a stretch pass up ice that sprung Ryan Valentini for a breakaway. Valentini carried it in and flicked a wrist shot through Kupsky to make it 4-0.
Idaho finally got itself on the board late in the third period when Yauheni Aksiantsiuk scored twice in the span of 90 seconds, first a tap-in on the back post then a wrist shot on the short side, cutting the Rush lead to 4-2.
But Rapid City sealed the deal with less than two minutes to play in the game after Valentini poked the puck loose at the blue line and hit Gravelle who walked in with an empty net waiting. He fed the puck into the empty net and pushed the score to its 5-2 final.
Gravelle had a goal and two assists, Wahlin scored twice and both Nelson and Valentini had a goal and an assist. Kelley made 32 saves on 34 shots as the Rush extended their winning streak to four games. Rapid City is now 18-14-3-2 while Idaho fell to 19-15-0-1 in the loss.
The Rush and Steelheads will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05 PM for Rodeo Night, presented by Gold Buckle Beer. There will be a pregame party, sponsored by Texas Roadhouse, starting at 4:30 PM in Rushmore Hall featuring live music from He Said She Said. The Rush will also be wearing specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off postgame with a portion of proceeds going towards the Western Legacy Foundation.