ECHL Game Recap: Rapid City Rush vs. Wichita Thunder | 04/12/2024

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush via Instagram

The Rapid City Rush scored three unanswered goals to come back and beat the Wichita Thunder in overtime in the second game of their three-game series.

Starting Lineups

For the second game of the series, the Wichita Thunder started with a forward trio of Dillon Boucher, Jason Pineo, and Jake Wahlin. They had a defensive pairing of Jeremy Masella and Nolan Kneen with Trevor Gorsuch back in net.

The Rapid City Rush started with a forward trio of Parker Bowman, Maurizio Colella, and Garrett Klotz. They had a defensive pairing of Tyson Helgesen and Jarrod Gourley, with Christian Propp between the pipes again.

First Period

Unlike Thursday night, the Thunder were able to control the puck more and spend more time in their offensive zone to start off the game, and it would not take long for them to find the back of the net. 5:27 into the period, Mitchell Russell was able to find the back of the net to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Russell’s goal was assisted by Bradley Marek and Jay Dickman. The Thunder continued to control the game and were able to take a 2-0 lead with a goal from Bradley Marek. Marek’s goal came 19:18 into the first period and was assisted by Jay Dickman.

The Thunder ended the period with a 2-0 lead and outshot the Rush 15-7.

Second Period

After a rough first period, the Rush came out with a little more fire and were able to get themselves on the board early on. 2:08 into the period, Brett Gravelle found the back of the net with a shot right down the middle of the zone. Gravelle’s goal was assisted by Ilya Nikolaev and Keanu Yamamoto.

7:35 into the period, the Thunder would get their two-goal lead back after a defensive breakdown by the Rush, sending Mitchell Russell on a breakaway. Russell was able to beat Propp on his glove side to give the Thunder a 3-1 lead. Russell’s second of the game was assisted by Jay Dickman.

Wichita’s two-goal lead would get cut in half again after a powerplay goal from Parker Bowman, picking up a rebound in front of the net. Bowman’s goal was assisted by Brett Gravelle and Keanu Yamamoto.

The second period ended with Wichita up 3-2 after being outshot 12-5 by the Rush.

Third Period

The third period was a more evenly played period with a lot more back-and-forth hockey. Wichita would get the scoring in the third period started with a goal from Nick Nardella 7:16 into the period. Nardella’s goal gave the Thunder a 4-2 lead and was assisted by Michal Stinil.

But it would not take the Rush long to strike back. Brett Gravelle was able to intercept the Thunder’s pass, sending himself and Jake Stella on a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway. Stella was able to receive a pass from Gravelle to put the puck home, bringing the Rush within one. Stella’s shorthanded goal was assisted by Gravelle. The Rush would then even the score at four after Keanu Yamamoto picked up a rebound in front of the net and snuck it past the Thunder’s goaltender. Yamamoto’s goal was assisted by Blake Bennett.

Tied at four, the two teams needed extra time to decide a winner. Shots in the third period were 8-6 in favor of the Rush.

Overtime

The Rush started the overtime period in control of the puck and the game, but they did let the Thunder have a couple of chances, including a shot that went off the post. But after being down the whole game and coming back late in the third, the Rush would get the final goal of the game with a goal from Maurizio Colella. Colella’s goal came 2:54 into the overtime period and was assisted by Jarrod Gourley and Keanu Yamamoto.

Shots in overtime were 4-1 in favor of the Rush.

Final Stats and Thoughts

The Rapid City Rush ended up winning by a final score of 5-4 after outshooting the Wichita Thunder 31-27. Both goaltenders played pretty good as Wichita’s goaltender Trevor Gorsuch made 26 saves on 31 shots for a save percentage of .839 and Rapid City’s goaltender Christian Propp made 23 saves on 27 shots for a save percentage of .852. Rapid City continued to succeed on special teams as they were able to go 1/3 on the powerplay and 3/3 on the penalty kill. Meanwhile, Wichita’s special teams still struggled a little as they went 0/3 on the powerplay, but they were able to go 2/3 on the penalty kill.

Overall, this was not one of Rapid City’s best games. They played from behind pretty much the entire game and really let Wichita control the puck and get scoring chances. But, in the end, the Rush showed their perseverance and no-quit attitude when they scored a late third-period goal to tie the game, and then they were able to complete the comeback in overtime.

The Rapid City Rush and Wichita Thunder will wrap up their 2023-24 ECHL seasons against each other in the series and season finale on Saturday, April 13, with puck drop at 7:05 pm MDT.

Felicity Harding

Hello! I'm Felicity and I mainly cover the Rapid City Rush in the ECHL here at Inside the Rink. You can find me on Instagram and X/Twitter at @fharding05

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