Stephane Legault and Peter Quenneville provided all of the offense for the Rapid City Rush, but net-minder Tyler Parks stole the show with a 26-save shutout, powering the home side to a 2-0 win on Saturday night over the Wichita Thunder. The win, coming in the last game of 2019, gives Parks his second shutout of the season, and provides the Rush with a sweep in the weekend series against the Thunder heading into the New Year.
For a second game in a row, the Rush provided the first goal and left the first 20 minutes with the lead. Scoring the only goal of the first period was Stephane Legault, who extended his personal point streak to five games with the tally. With 8:10 left in the first period, Tyler Coulter denied the Thunder an opportunity to clear their zone in a traffic jam, and hammered the puck towards the Wichita net. Legault was in the area code and backhanded the rebound by an outstretched Evan Weninger in net for the Thunder, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead (Coulter had the only assist). Tyler Parks, in net for the Rush, stopped all four shots he saw in the opening 20 minutes.
Rush Captain Peter Quenneville doubled the Rush lead in the second period, directly off of an offensive zone play. With 8:19 remaining in the second, Matteo Gennaro won a draw cleanly to Quenneville, who lined up on the blue line. Quenneville rifled a shot over Weninger’s shoulder, and pushed the Rush to a 2-0 lead (Gennaro had the lone assist). Parks again shined for the Rush, stopping all 8 shots faced in the second for a total of 12 saves through 40 minutes.
Parks and the Rush defense hung tough in the final period, with the former denying all 14 shots Wichita threw at him in the last 20 minutes. When the clock hit triple-zero, the Rush celebrated a 2-0 win, marking the second shutout of the season for Parks with 26 saves.
Parks, earning the victory with the 26-save shutout, reaches 10 wins for the first time in a season in his ECHL career (10-4-3-0).
The Rush now take to the road to square off against the Utah Grizzlies for a “three-in-three” on January 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Puck drop for the Friday and Saturday matchups are slated for 7:10 p.m. MDT, while Sunday’s matinee is slated for 1:10 p.m. MDT at the Maverik Center.