RAPID CITY, S.D. – Daniil Chechelev made 33 saves on 34 shots, Jon Martin and Brett Gravelle both scored and the Rapid City Rush beat the Wichita Thunder 2-1 on Friday night at The Monument Ice Arena. The Rush won for the sixth consecutive game and for the ninth time in their past 10.
Rapid City opened the scoring in the first period after Logan Nelson sprung Martin down the right wing. Martin carried the puck toward the net, dragged it from his forehand to his backhand and slid it through the legs of Evan Buitenhuis to make the score 1-0.
They extended that lead in the second after Matt Marcinew barreled into the attacking zone and left a drop pass for Gravelle. He loaded up a snap shot from the right circle and darted the puck top shelf through Buitenhuis, pushing the lead to 2-0.
The Thunder ramped up the pressure in the third period and eventually cracked Chechelev when Dominic Dockery took a wrist shot from the blue line. It deflected on its way through the traffic in front of the net and the Thunder cut the lead to 2-1.
That would be all they would manage on Chechelev, however, as the Rapid City goaltender was spectacular in the third. He faced 16 shots in the period and stopped all but one of them as the Rush held on to their one-goal lead until the final horn sounded. In the end, Chechelev recorded 33 saves and the Rush won for the sixth game in a row.
Rapid City improved its record to 13-8-0-0 and Wichita fell to 11-8-2-0. The Rush now have sole possession of second place in the Mountain Division and have won nine of their past 10 games.
The Rush and Thunder will finish out their three-in-three week on Saturday night. It’s Rush Gives Back Night and the Teddy Bear Toss and every seat in the area is $30. $5 from each ticket sold will be donated to Black Hills Works and Rural America Initiatives and Black Hills Energy will match the Rush’s donation up to $10,000. Fans are also encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal to the game to throw onto the ice after the game’s first goal. Those stuffed animals will be collected and donated to children in the Black Hills community.
Puck drop for Rush Gives Back Night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at The Monument Ice Arena.