BOISE, Idaho – Ilya Nikolaev scored his third goal in the past two games but the Rapid City Rush were beaten by the Idaho Steelheads 5-1 on Saturday night at Idaho Central Arena.
The Steelheads opened the scoring in the first period off a won faceoff in the attacking zone. Matt Register flicked a wrist shot from the blue line that snuck past Adam Carlson on the glove side to make it 1-0.
Idaho struck again in the first minute of the second period with a power play goal. Antonio Stranges took a pass on the left wing and carried the puck to the circle. He snapped a shot that got through Carlson and the score was 2-0.
The Rush answered quickly after they forced a turnover and Max Coatta sprung Nikolaev for a breakaway. He sped in on net and fired a wrist shot top shelf past Remi Poirier, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Idaho pushed its lead back to two at the end of the second period when a shot deflected off Zach Walker in front of the net and bounced past Carlson. They added to the lead in the third after Stranges finished an odd man break off a pass from Ryan Dmowski. Finally, Jordan Kawaguchi netted a wrist shot off the rush from the right wing that made it 5-1.
Nikolaev’s goal was his third in the last two games and his seventh of the season and Carlson made 30 saves on 35 shots. Rapid City lost for the fourth consecutive game and dropped to 13-12-0-0. Idaho won its sixth straight and improved to 20-3-0-1.
The Rush will continue their road swing in Wichita for three games next week against the Thunder. It begins on Wednesday night and puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at INTRUST Bank Arena.