WICHITA, Kan. – Alex Aleardi scored in the third period to put the Rush on the board but Rapid City was beaten by the Wichita Thunder 5-1 on Thursday night at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Wichita struck first in the first period with a power play goal. Michal Stinil skated the puck to the top of the left circle and blasted a slap shot through traffic in front of the net. It beat Daniil Chechelev top shelf and the Thunder took a 1-0 lead.
They added to that lead in the second period seconds after a Rapid City power play expired. Stinil took a stretch pass after exiting the penalty box, gained the zone and left a drop pass for Quinn Preston. Preston slung the puck on net and past Chechelev high on the blocker side to make the score 2-0.
Later, after the Rush turned the puck over in their defensive zone, Jake Wahlin grabbed it in front of the net. Witch Chechelev out of position, Wahlin backhanded a shot into the net and the Wichita lead grew to three.
The Thunder extended that advantage again in the third while shorthanded as Cole MacDonald gained the zone an odd-man rush and hit Brayden Wats cutting to the net. He flicked a wrister past Chechelev and Wichita led 4-0.
Rapid City got on the board in the third period when Ilya Nikolaev and Aleardi gained the zone at the conclusion of a penalty kill. Nikolaev fed Aleardi for a one-timer that he blasted top shelf past Zachary Emond to cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Rush pulled Chechelev for an extra attacker in the final minutes and the Thunder cashed in with an empty-net goal by Jay Dickman that made it 5-1. Rapid City fell for the sixth consecutive game and dropped to 13-14-0-0 in the process. The Thunder improved to 15-9-2-0 with the win.
The Rush will finish their road trip on Friday night with the third game in three days against Wichita. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at INTRUST Bank Arena.