(WICHITA, Kan.) – Ilya Nikolaev scored with 61 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game and force overtime but the Rapid City Rush were beaten in overtime by the Wichita Thunder 4-3 on Thursday night at INTRUST Bank Arena. The Rush extended their point streak to four games with the overtime loss.
Following a scoreless first period, the Thunder got on the board first in the second. After the Rush successfully killed off a penalty, Wichita kept the pressure in the attacking zone and Peter Bates slid a pass to Gavin Gould at the back post. Gould slung a shot short side through Daniil Chechelev and the Thunder grabbed a 1-0 lead.
They added to that lead two and a half minutes later when Michal Stinil carried the puck to the left wing and sent a pass to the slot where Bates was waiting. He one-timed a shot past Chechelev and the score was 2-0.
The Rush got on the board later in the first as Keanu Yamamoto charged through neutral ice and gained the zone with Max Coatta on his wing. He worked the puck to Coatta who flicked a wrist shot past the glove side of Trevor Gorsuch to make it 2-1.
Rapid City then tied the game early in the third when Ilya Nikolaev snaked into the attacking zone and darted a pass to Jon Martin on the back side. Martin guided a shot past Gorsuch and the game was square at two.
Wichita regained the lead less than a minute later when Xavier Pouliot backhanded a shot from the short side that Chechelev stopped. But the rebound was loose for Ben Allison who grabbed it and snuck a shot far side by Chechelev, giving the Thunder a 3-2 advantage.
The Rush then pulled Chechelev for an extra attacker and with just over a minute to go, won an attacking zone faceoff. Nelson slid a pass to Nikolaev at the point who sent a wrist shot toward the net. It navigated traffic and got by Gorsuch on the glove side, evening the score at three and forcing overtime.
In overtime, the Rush were called for a penalty just 14 seconds in and were sent to the penalty kill. They successfully killed off that penalty but just one second after it expired, Brayden Watts found Bates for a one-timer at the left circle that he buried for the game-winning goal.
Chechelev made 37 saves on 41 shots, Nikolaev had a goal and an assist and Nelson had two assists in the overtime loss. Rapid City extended its point streak to four games but moved to 31-33-4-0 with the loss while Wichita improved to 32-31-6-0. The Rush are now two points out of a playoff spot in the Mountain Division.
Rapid City and Wichita will meet again on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at INTRUST Bank Arena.