(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – Ilya Nikolaev scored twice, Keanu Yamamoto had two assists and Daniil Chechelev made 38 saves as the Rapid City Rush beat the Idaho Steelheads in a shootout 4-3 on Saturday night at The Monument Ice Arena.
Early in the first period, Yamamoto dug a puck from below the goal line and sent a pass toward Nikolaev at the front of the net. Nikolaev gained possession and flipped the shot past Remi Poirier as he tumbled to the ice, putting the Rush on top.
Just 38 seconds later, the Rush struck again when Ryan Zuhlsdorf took a shot from the blue line that Poirier blocked. But Nikolaev controlled the rebound and stuffed it home, extending the Rush lead to 2-0.
Idaho answered with a goal in the final seconds of the first period from Jordan Kawaguchi. They then tied the game in the second period when Ty Pelton-Byce finished on the doorstep.
Rapid City regained the lead in the third just after a power play expired. Colton Leiter took a shot from the blue line that Max Coatta deflected with his stick. The puck ricocheted over Poirier’s shoulder and the Rush went ahead, 3-2.
Idaho tied it later in the third, however, with a power play strike from Pelton-Byce that eventually forced overtime. Following a scoreless overtime that saw the Rush outshoot the Steelheads, 7-2, the game progressed to a shootout.
Nikolaev went first for the Rush and slid a shot through Poirier’s five hole. Each goaltender then stopped the next two chances before A.J. White converted for Idaho in the third round. Alex Aleardi answered with a dazzling goal in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Rush the lead again. And Chechelev stoned Ryan Dmowski on Idaho’s final chance, cementing the 4-3 Rapid City victory.
Nikolaev’s two goals were the first two of his professional career, Chechelev matched a season-high with 38 saves and Yamamoto recorded his first career multi-point game. The Rush improved to 4-6-0-0 in the win while Idaho fell to 7-2-0-1.
Rapid City will now hit the road for three games in Tulsa against the Oilers. It begins on Thursday morning, puck drop is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. CT at the BOK Center.