(WICHITA, Kan.) – The Rapid City Rush put a season-high 51 shots on goal but were beaten by the Wichita Thunder 6-2 on Saturday night at INTRUST Bank Arena. Rapid City lost for the fourth consecutive game.
Wichita opened the scoring in the first period with a pair of goals netted less than 30 seconds apart. First, Kyle Rhodes darted a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Adam Carlson on the glove side. Then, a Rush defensive zone giveaway let to Timur Ibragimov hitting Peter Bates for a tap-in on the back door, pushing the score to 2-0.
The Rush answered quickly with a power play tally. Ilya Nikolaev teed-up Ryan Zuhlsdorf for a slap shot from the point that rang off the post. It bounced to Brett Gravelle, who had inside position atop the crease and shoveled the puck into the net to make it 2-1.
Rapid City then tied the game in the final minute of the first as Max Coatta gained the zone and found a trailing Carter Robertson for a one-timer from the high slot. Robertson clapped it top shelf past Evan Buitenhuis, evening the score at two.
The Thunder regained the lead in the second period after Ibragimov hit Bates for a one-timer from the right circle that he snuck past the outstretched Carlson. They added to that lead again with a power play goal after Brett Van Os carried the puck toward the net and put a backhander on that Carlson stopped. He then knocked the rebound in and the Wichita lead grew to 4-2.
Rhodes netted his second in the game in the first minute of the third period on a wrist shot that deflected on its way through traffic and eventually found the back of the net. Bates then completed the hat trick with a power play strike from the right circle that pushed the score to the 6-2 final.
The Rush set a new season high with 51 shots and also eclipsed their season high of shots in a single period with 23 in the first. Carlson made 23 saves on 28 shots and Daniil Chechelev faced 10 shots in relief and stopped nine.
Rapid City fell to 20-22-1-0 in the loss while Wichita improved to 24-16-3-0. The Rush and Thunder will play the second of their back-to-back on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT at INTRUST Bank Arena.