ECHL Game Recap: Rapid City Rush vs. Wichita Thunder | 04/13/2024

Photo Credit: Rapid City Rush via Instagram

The Rapid City Rush completed the sweep against the Wichita Thunder to end their season on a high note.

Starting Lineups

For the final game of the season, 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 goaltender Beck Warm in net.

The Rapid City Rush started with a forward trio of Alex Aleardi, Brett Davis, and Blake Bennett. They had a defensive pairing of Kenton Helgesen and Tyson Helgesen with goaltender Matt Radomsky between the pipes.

First Period

The first period was a lot of back-and-forth hockey. Both teams had chances to score, but neither team could convert, and both goaltenders made some great saves. The period was played mostly five-on-five with the exception of two minutes when Wichita had a powerplay due to a Zach Taylor slashing penalty against the Rush, but Wichita was unable to find the back of the net while on the man advantage. The period would end still deadlocked at zero after the Rush outshot the Thunder 9-7.

Second Period

The second period would start the same as the first period, with both teams getting chances and neither team converting on their chances. But, the deadlock did not last the whole period as the Thunder struck first after the Rush turned over the puck in their own zone, as Thunder forward Michal Stinil was able to put it home at the 9:06 mark with the assist coming from Jay Dickman.

The Rush then responded with a goal from Keanu Yamamoto, who took a shot from an impossible angle and got the puck to sneak past the Thunder’s goaltender. Yamamoto’s goal was assisted by Brett Gravelle and Zach Taylor. The Rush took the lead 18:03 into the period when Maurizio Colella picked up a rebound in front of the net and put it into the back of the net. Colella’s goal was assisted by Brett Gravelle and Keanu Yamamoto.

The Rapid City Rush had a 2-1 lead at the end of the period after being outshot 13-12 by the Thunder.

Third Period

Just like the rest of the game, the third period started out pretty quiet. Both teams got some good looks and chances, but they could not find the back of the net. Later, Wichita was down by one with less than two minutes left in the game, so they pulled their goalie. Wichita was unable to keep possession of the puck as they turned it over to Rapid, allowing for Blake Bennett to go down and score on the empty net, giving the Rush a 3-1 lead. Bennett’s goal came 18:47 into the period and was unassisted.

But Wichita was not going to go out quietly. With only 22 seconds left in the game, and their season, the Thunder were able to pull themselves within one after Jay Dickman was able to sneak the puck past Rush goaltender Matt Radomsky. Dickman’s goal was assisted by Jason Pineo.

The Rush outshot the Thunder 10-7 in the third period.

Final Stats and Thoughts

The Rapid City Rush went on to win by a final score of 3-2 after outshooting the Thunder 31-27. Both goaltenders played really well for their respective teams as Wichita’s goaltender, Beck Warm made 28 saves on 30 shots for a save percentage of .933, and Rapid City’s goaltender, Matt Radomsky, made 25 saves on 27 shots for a save percentage of .926. Rapid City only had one powerplay, and they were not able to convert on it, but they were able to go 3/3 on the penalty kill. Wichita was able to kill off the one penalty against them in the game, but the were unable to convert on their powerplay going 0/3.

This game was great for both teams as there was not a lot left for them to play for. From the goals to the physicality and fights to the overall effort from the players, both teams still showed up even though they were not playing for a playoff spot. The Rush and Thunder could have come out and just played a lazy game, but they both came out to play and to go out with a bang. The Rush saw a lot of struggles earlier in the season and they just were not able to recover from it. But they were at least able to end their season on a high note with not only a win but also a sweep.

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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