(RAPID CITY, S.D.) –The Rapid City Rush scored three power play goals and went on to beat the Wichita Thunder 4-3 on Thursday night at The Monument Ice Arena. The Rush won their fifth consecutive game and for the eighth time in their last nine games.
Rapid City opened the scoring in the first period while working with a power play. Simon Lavigne took a pass at the point and fed Alex Aleardi for a one-timer from the top of the left circle. He blasted the shot past Evan Buitenhuis and the Rush took a 1-0 lead.
They added to that lead in the second period after Brett Gravelle took a shot that was blocked and sat loose at the left circle. Nobody saw the puck but Matt Marcinew, who grabbed it and shot it past the confused Buitenhuis and the score was 2-0.
The Thunder got on the board in the second on a Cole MacDonald power play tally that cut the lead to 2-1. But the Rush answered in the third with another power play strike after Aleardi fired a shot that was blocked in front. Jon Martin poked the loose puck to the back side where Keanu Yamamoto knocked it home to push the advantage to 3-1.
The Rush got one more, again on the power play, after Lavigne took a shot from the point that Buitenhuis stopped but Calder Brooks corralled the rebound. Brooks slide the puck past the lunging goaltender and the lead grew to three.
Wichita would not go away, however, and got itself back within two when Michal Stinil finished on a breakaway. They then cut the lead to one after Stinil netted a power play goal that made it 4-3.
The Thunder pulled Buitenhuis for an extra attacker in the last minute of the game but the Rush stood strong in the defensive zone. They held on for the 4-3 win and extended their winning streak to a season-high five games.
Aleardi, Yamamoto and Marcinew each had a goal and an assist and Lavigne chipped in with two helpers. The Rush improved their record to 12-8-0-0 and Wichita had a three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 11-7-2-0.
The Rush and Thunder will meet again on Friday night for their second of three scheduled this week. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at The Monument Ice Arena.