(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – The Rapid City Rush fell behind less than three minutes into the first period and eventually lost to the Idaho Steelheads 7-1 on Friday night at The Monument Ice Arena.
Idaho opened the scoring early in the first period when Patrick Kudla dumped the puck in from the blue line. It bounced off the pad of Daniil Chechelev and to the right circle where Janis Svanenbergs grabbed it. He snapped the shot top shelf and in to make it 1-0.
The Steelheads struck again near the halfway point of the period after a neutral zone turnover sprung Wade Murphy in on a breakaway. Murphy fired a wrist shot bar down and in, extending the lead to 2-0.
Rapid City answered a few minutes later after Matt Marcinew nudged the puck up the right wing boards for Rory Kerins. Kerins marched in towards the right circle and flicked a wrist shot top shelf on the blocker side through Remi Poirier, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Idaho cashed in three times in the second period to take control of the game. First, Jack Becker took the puck in the neutral zone and sped in on a breakaway. He deked to his backhand and slid it through the legs of Chechelev. Just over a minute later, a dump in took an odd bounce off the corner boards and slid to Justin Misiak. With Chechelev out of his net to play the puck, Misiak shot it into the open cage and it was 4-1. Willie Knierim then added a shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 5-1.
The Steelheads scored two more in the third period as Murphy got his second of the game and A.J. White notched a shorthanded goal pushing the score to its 7-1 final.
Kerins scored the lone goal for the Rush who dropped to 19-18-1-0 in the loss. Idaho improved to 29-6-0-1 with its win. The Rush and Steelheads will meet again on Saturday night in Rapid City. It’s Rodeo and Ag Night and the team will be wearing specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off postgame, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Western Legacy Foundation. There is also a pregame party featuring live music from the Dugan Irby Band beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Cowboy Bar inside The Monument. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at The Monument Ice Arena.