Tyler Coulter deflected a David Quenneville shot on a third period power play to vault the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 win over the Wichita Thunder on Saturday night. The win ends a six-game losing streak for the Rush, however, their distance to the last playoff spot remains at .05% with 10 games remaining due to Utah’s shootout win over Tulsa.
The Rush jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring in the opening minutes of the contest. Just 1:59 into the game, Johnny Coughlin took a Tyler Coulter pass down the left wing side in Wichita’s third and fired a shot on net. Evan Weninger, in net for Wichita, made the save, but Cedric Montminy picked up the rebound and gave the Rush an early 1-0 lead (Coughlin and Coulter assisted). On their first power play of the game, another net-front rebound produced from the Quenneville brothers, David to Peter for a one-timer, was pocketed by Avery Peterson in the slot area, doubling the Rush lead to 2-0 at 10:23 of the first period (the Quenneville’s assisted).
Wichita rolled back in the second frame and squared things up heading into the final period of play. Stefan Fournier received a Beau Starrett pass from behind the net and threw home a shot past Rush net-minder Dave Tendeck, cutting the Rush lead to 2-1 at 10:13 of the second period (Starrett and Alex Peters assisted). Exactly 5:30 later, Starrett found his name on the goal column on a high-skilled play from his teammates. With 4:27 left in the second, Jay Dickman entered the Rush zone and dropped it back to Fournier, who wound up and fired a slapshot on Tendeck’s net. Tendeck made the stop but produced a rebound that was batted out of mid-air by Dickman to Starrett, with the latter barely getting enough stick on the puck to slide it past Tendeck and in to tie the game at 2-2 (Dickman and Fournier assisted).
Penalties added up for Wichita in the final period, with an undisciplined high-sticking call coming against Jacob Graves that put the Rush to their fourth power play of the game. Just 24 seconds into the man-advantage, the Rush took the lead and never looked back. With 8:48 left in the game, Hunter Garlent found David Quenneville for a one-timer from the point that grazed Tyler Coulter on its way to the net. The redirection flew by Weninger and vaulted the Rush to a 3-2 lead (David Quenneville and Garlent assisted). Pulling Weninger for the extra attacker in the final minutes, Wichita couldn’t muster a tying goal to perpetuate the game and the Rush hung on for a 3-2 win, ending a six-game losing streak.
Dave Tendeck earned the win, stopping 31 of 33 shots in the effort (9-11-0-0).
The Rush conclude their seven-game road trip with their season series finale against Wichita tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop for the rubber match and last meeting against the Thunder is slated for 3:05 p.m. MDT at INTRUST Bank Arena.