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NIKOLAEV STRIKES TWICE IN 5-2 LOSS AT IDAHO

Saturday, December 17th
NIKOLAEV STRIKES TWICE IN 5-2 LOSS AT IDAHO

(BOISE, Idaho.) – Ilya Nikolaev recorded two goals in his return from the AHL but the Rapid City Rush were beaten by the Idaho Steelheads 5-2 on Friday night at Idaho Central Arena.

Idaho got the scoring starting in the first period. Cody Haiskanen took a shot from the right wing blue line that Wade Murphy deflected in front of the net. It bounced past Adam Carlson and the Steelheads took a 1-0 lead.

Later, Haiskanen fired a shot from outside the circles that once again found a stick in front of the net. This time it was Jordan Kawaguchi, who got his stick on the puck and sent it caroming past a screened Carlson, pushing the lead to 2-0.

The Steelheads struck again five minutes later when Murphy came streaking down the left wing and fired a shot from the left circle. It squeaked past Carlson on the glove side and into the net, extending the Idaho advantage to 3-0.

That would be it for Carlson who was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots in 9:33 of play.

In the second, the Rush got on the board after Kenton Helgesen cranked a shot wide of the net. It bounced off the end boards and found its way to Nikolaev on the back side. He took a pair of whacks at the puck and eventually got it past Adam Scheel, putting the Rush on the board.

The Steelheads quickly answered, however, thanks to another deflection from Kawaguchi. He got a piece of a Dawson Barteaux shot that bounced through Daniil Chechelev and it was 4-1.

Late in the period, with the Rush on a power play, Alex Aleardi blasted a slap shot from the left circle that Scheel blocked but allowed a rebound to bounce to Nikolaev on the back post. While tangled with an Idaho defenseman, Nikolaev muscled the puck into the net and the Rush cut the deficit to two.

That would be as close as Rapid City would get, however, as Idaho added an A.J. White power play goal in the third to push the score to its 5-2 final. The Rush fell for the third consecutive game and dropped to 13-11-0-0.

Nikolaev had two goals for the second time this season and Chechelev made 29 saves on 31 shots in relief. The Rush and Steelheads will finish their three-game week on Saturday night. Puck drop at Idaho Central Arena is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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