Thunder Closer to Clinching Playoff Spot with Win vs. Rush
WICHITA, Kan. - Wichita opened a three-game series on Friday night against Rapid City and claimed a 5-3 win at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Beau Starrett, Cam Clarke and Matteo Gennaro each recorded two points and Evan Buitenhuis stopped 37 shots to earn his 14th win of the season.
Early in the first, Wichita got on the board as Brayden Watts potted his eighth of the year. He stole the puck near the Rapid City line, fed it across to Spencer Dorowicz, skated to the right post and fired a one-timer past Adam Carlson to make it 1-0.
The two teams closed the first with three goals in the final 1:48 of the frame. Cedric Montminy recorded his 15th of the season at 18:12 to tie the game at one. The Rush took their first lead at 19:00 when Avery Peterson tipped home a pass from Hunter Garlent on the power play to make it 2-1.
45 seconds later, Clarke scored his third of the year to tie the game at two. He stepped down the right seam and put home a pass from Gennaro.
David Tendeck entered the game at the beginning of the second. Gennaro gave the Thunder a 3-2 lead at 6:23. He battled through a check in the slot and slid a shot past Tendeck for his 24th of the season. Garlent tied it again, scoring his 20th of the year at 8:28 to make it 3-3.
Wichita was awarded a power play when Brandon Magee was called for slashing. Starrett scored the eventual game-winner at 16:06. He found a rebound off a shot from Stefan Fournier and beat Tendeck with a backhand near the front of the net to make it 4-3. Rapid City argued that Starrett was offside on the zone entry, but it was not reviewable and the goal stood.
The Rush had two power play chances in the third, but failed to find the equalizer. Jay Dickman scored an empty-netter at 19:00 to close the scoring.
With the win, Wichita's magic number to clinch a playoff spot drops to one. Wichita has won the last five meetings in the season-series against the Rush. The Thunder went 1-for-3 on the power play while giving up a power play goal on five Rapid City chances.
Starrett had a goal and an assist and has points in five-straight. Clarke had a goal and an assist. Gennaro netted a goal and an assist and has points in six of his last seven games. Crinella had two helpers and has points in three-straight.
The Thunder continues their four-game homestand tomorrow against Rapid City at 7:05 p.m.
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