WICHITA, Kan. – Logan Nelson had a goal and an assist and the Rapid City Rush fired 47 shots on goal but they were beaten by the Wichita Thunder 6-3 on Wednesday night at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Wichita struck first in the opening period while working with a power play. After Michal Stinil’s shot was blocked, Timur Ibragimov fed Brayden Watts at the right circle. He fired a snap shot that beat a lunging Daniil Chechelev, giving the Thunder a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, the Rush answered as Lucas Feuk gained the zone and fed Ilya Nikolaev in the left wing corner. Nikolaev hit a charging Alex Aleardi on the back post and he chipped the puck home to tie the score at one.
The Thunder countered just 15 seconds later when Dominic Dockery took a slap shot from the blue line. It floated through traffic and beat a screened Chechelev, putting Wichita back on top, 2-1.
Wichita then struck for three goals in the second, starting when Peter Bates was sprung for a breakaway that he cashed in on. Watts then buried another power play goal, a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle, and Stinil finished with a wrist shot on an odd-man rush that made it 5-1.
Rapid City controlled play in the third and bit into the deficit when Nelson hit Brett Gravelle at the left circle. Gravelle sent a dart top shelf past Evan Buitenhuis on the glove side to cut the lead to 5-2. 15 seconds later, Feuk fired a shot wide of the net that bounced off the end boards and found Nelson. Wichita defensemen had collided with Buitenhuis, who was out of position, and Nelson backhanded the puck home, making the score 5-3.
The Rush continued to dominate possession of the puck and eventually outshot Wichita, 21-6, in the third period. With the net empty in the final minute, however, Wichita’s Cole MacDonald picked up a loose puck and sent it the full length of the ice and into the net, pushing the score to its 6-3 final.
Feuk had two assists and Nelson recorded a goal and an assist but the Rush saw their losing streak extended to a season-long five games. Rapid City’s record fell to 13-13-0-0 while Wichita improved to 14-9-2-0.
The Rush and the Thunder will meet for the second of three games this week on Thursday night. Puck drop at INTRUST Bank Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.