Charles-David Beaudoin helped quarterback a power play that struck three times for the Rapid City Rush, and coupled with his four points and six other mutli-point efforts from his teammates, demolished the Wichita Thunder by an 8-2 score on Wednesday night. The game begins a four game/five night/three city stretch for the Rush this week.
Both teams traded power play goals late in the first period, but the Rush came out of the first 20 minutes with a 2-1 lead. Charles-David Beaudoin got things started for the Rush just 7 seconds into the team’s second power play of the game. With 3:33 left in the first, Keeghan Howdeshell bumped a Matteo Gennaro faceoff win to Jalen Smereck on the blue line. Smereck zipped a cross ice d-to-d pass to Beaudoin, who walked in down the slot and rifled a wrister by Thunder goalie Dylan Wells, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead (Smereck and Howdeshell assisted). Exactly 1:29 later, on their fourth power play of the period, Wichita counterpunched to tie the game. With 2:04 left, Jason Salvaggio found Chris Crane in the slot area, the latter finishing with a shot off the bar and past Rush net-minder Alex Sakellaropoulos to square the game at 1-1 (Salvaggio and Patrik Parkkonen assisted). Exactly 25 seconds later, Smereck, celebrating his 23rd birthday, did so in style. After taking an area pass in neutral ice, Smereck entered the Thunder zone, danced around Zachary Borsoi, and went in uncontested on net, tucking one by Wells to make it a 2-1 Rush lead (Howdeshell and Tyler Poulsen assisted).
Ryker Killins kept the scoring going for the Rush in the second period with his first goal since October 13th. Just 4:22 into the second, on the third Rush power play of the night, Killins took a bad bounce off of the glass, waltzed down the slot, and fired a shot by an outstretched Wells to make it a 3-1 Rush lead (the goal was unassisted). However, Wichita countered again with another power play goal to cut the deficit to one. Peter Crinella finished a smooth passing play with a top shelf wrist shot by Sakellaropoulos from the near faceoff circle to come within striking distance at 3-2 with 6:08 gone by in the second (Salvaggio and Parkkonen assisted). From there, the Rush took over, and it began with Brennan Saulnier’s shorthanded strike. On his own blue line, Darian Romanko found Saulnier in front of the benches, and sprung him on a break uncontested from the blue line in. Saulnier delayed, carried towards the slot, and fired a wrist shot by Wells to expand the Rush lead to 4-2 with 9:51 left in the second (Romanko and Beaudoin assisted). Cedric Montminy, making his return to the lineup for the first time since November 1st, made his presence felt at 15:51. Counter-attacking a Wichita odd-man rush, Tyler Poulsen led the home side up the ice on a three on one. Poulsen deferred to Saulnier, who handed off to Montminy, with the latter slamming the puck by Wells to give the Rush a 5-2 lead (Saulnier and Poulsen assisted).
The Rush ran away with the game in the third period, adding three more before the clock hit 00.0. Darian Romanko and Keeghan Howdeshell scored 50 seconds apart, the former banking home a rebound on a Charles-David Beaudoin shot to make it 6-2 with 4:53 left in the game (Beaudoin and Dexter Dancs assisted). On the next Rush power play, Howdeshell fired a laser from the far wall over Wells’ shoulder to vault the Rush to a 7-2 lead (Beaudoin and Jalen Smereck assisted). Dexter Dancs finished off a scoring rally of 2:12 with a wraparound with 2:41 left in the game, bringing the contest to a final score of 8-2 (Poulsen and Eric Israel assisted).
Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped all but two of 28 shots on net in his third win with the Rush (3-4-0-0 with the Rush, 5-8-0-0 total).
The Rush continue their busy stretch this week on the road on Friday, January 17th, visiting the Indy Fuel for just the third time in team history. Puck drop at Indiana Farmers Coliseum is slated for 5:35 p.m. MDT.