(WICHITA, Kan.) - Calder Brooks tipped in a Derek Perl shot with less than four minutes to go in the third period to put the Rapid City Rush on top for good as they defeated the Wichita Thunder, 3-2, Friday night at INTRUST Bank Arena. Dillon Kelley made 30 saves in his Rush debut to help power Rapid City to the win.
With the game tied at two late in the third period, Brett Gravelle snapped a pass to Perl at the point. He fired a shot towards the net that Brooks deflected up and over the shoulder of Jake Theut, putting the Rush on top, 3-2.
Wichita would pull Theut for an extra attacker in the final minute of the third period but was unable to net the equalizer as Kelley and the Rush defense held, giving Rapid City its second straight win.
The Rush opened the scoring in the first period when Gravelle dangled his way down the right wing and got around the defense. He slid a backhander under the pads of Theut to make it 1-0 Rapid City.
Wichita answered a few minutes later while skating with an extra attacker thanks to a delayed penalty on the Rush. Jay Dickman fed a pass to the back door where Dalton Skelly chipped it in past Kelley and the game was tied at one.
But the Rush grabbed the lead back with just over a minute to go in the opening frame. Jake Wahlin took the puck off the left wing boards and fired a pass to the front of the net. The puck caromed off a Wichita skate, then hit the skates of Gabe Chabot and bounced into the net, giving the Rush a 2-1 lead.
The Thunder tied it again in the second period while skating shorthanded. After the Rush did not capitalize on a scoring chance, Wichita broke out with an odd-man break the other way. Brayden Watts hit Logan Fredericks for a one-timer the he buried, tying the game at two.
Gravelle had a goal and an assist, Perl had two assists and Chabot scored for the third straight game. Rapid City improved to 16-14-3-2 in the win while Wichita fell to 12-18-4-0. The Rush and Thunder finish out their weekend set on Saturday night in Wichita. Puck drop at INTRUST Bank Arena is scheduled for 7:05 PM CST.