Beech, Robinson Help Thunder Past Rush
RAPID CITY, SD- The Wichita Thunder defeated the Rapid City Rush 3-2 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Friday night.
Kevin Beech saved 33 of 35 for the win, while Matt Robinson scored his 34th and 35th goals of the season.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Robinson scored to the short side of the net during a Thunder power play at 2:39 to tie the game. At 6:47, Dustin Donaghy took advantage of a turnover at Rapid City's blue line, and shot past the right of Rush goaltender Danny Battochio to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead. Robinson made it three straight goals for Wichita at 12:47, bouncing one past Battochio after taking a pass from the left point from Andrew Martens. Derek LeBlanc tipped in Ryan Menei's shot from against the right boards at 15:34 to trim the lead to 3-2.
Beech made several key saves for the Thunder in the period. Inside the 9:00 marker, and with Wichita on a power play, Beech faced a three-on-one rush that he quelled with a poke check on Derek LeBlanc. Later in the period, Beech rolled on his back to freeze a puck just before it could cross the goal line.
Beech was 8 for 8 in the third, helped by several plays by the Thunder defense, to hold on for the win.
Menei gave the Rush a 1-0 lead 1:34 into the game. After receiving a centering feed from Scott Wray, Menei waited and then shot past the left of Beech for the game's first score.
Battochio was 21 of 24 in the loss. Wichita was 1 for 4 on the power play. Rapid City was 1 for 3.
The Thunder and Rush complete their series Saturday at 8:05 p.m. All the action can be heard locally on Sports Radio 1550 KKLE and worldwide at www.kleyam.com The Thunder returns home on Friday, March 11th when they host the Mississippi RiverKings. For tickets, call the arena box office at (316) 755-SEAT or visit the Thunder's official website at www.wichitathunder.com.
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