(WICHITA, KS) – Ryan Misiak had a career four-point night, including the first hat-trick of his career, and it powered the Rapid City Rush to a 7-5 win over the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday night. The win started a four-game/five-night/three-city road trip, and also afforded net-minder Austin Lotz his first win in a Rush uniform this season.
The Rush have utilized quick offense recently to influence the flow of the game, and did so once again on Wednesday night. Just 44 seconds into the game, Terrence Wallin came into the Thunder slot from the near wall of the zone and fired a shot under the glove of Thunder goaltender, Scott Greenham, to put the Rush up 1-0 right off the hop (Mark Cooper and Riley Weselowski assisted). The Thunder countered around the midway point of the frame when Macoy Erkamps sent a shot from the near wall that was originally stopped by Rush net-minder, Austin Lotz, but the rebound squeaked free between his legs for Maxime St-Cyr, who scored in his Thunder debut to tie the game at 1-1 with 8:24 left in the period (Erkamps notched the lone assist).
The Rush struck first again in the second period, a frame that saw both teams combine for 6 goals. Ryan Misiak took a centering feed from Ryan Walters from behind the net and went bar-down over Greenham’s shoulder to give the Rush a 2-1 lead 6:09 into the second period (Walters and Mike Monfredo assisted, the latter earning his first point in a Rush uniform). Wichita tied the game up moments when Blake Tatchell made a move around a diving Rush defender and beat Austin Lotz over his shoulder to square the game at 2-2 with 11:00 left in the period (Ian Lowe and Alexis Vanier assisted). Mark Cooper broke the tie with 5:58 left in the second when he buried a one-timer off of a Logan Nelson pass to give the Rush a 3-2 lead (Nelson and Michael Young assisted). The Rush pulled to a two-goal lead on special teams, but struck on the shorthanded end of Wichita’s third power play. Ryan Walters fore-checked deep in the Thunder zone, and forced a turnover off of Alexis Vanier. Walters scooped the puck and fired over Greenham to give the Rush a 4-2 lead with 4:47 left in the period (the goal was unassisted). Wichita fired back on the same power play just seconds later and brought the gap to one when David Friedmann sent a rebound by Lotz to make it a 4-3 game with 4:01 left in the second (Blake Tatchell and Landon Oslanski assisted). The Thunder drew level within the final two minutes of the period when they were awarded a five-on-three power play. Alexis Vanier rifled a shot from the blue line that was deflected by Lotz to tie the game at 4-4 with 1:53 left heading into the third period (Matt DeBlouw and Blake Tatchell assisted).
Alex Mikulovich helped spark a stellar third period effort for the Rush to eventual send them on to the win. Mikulovich scored the first goal of his professional career when he blasted a slap shot over Greenham’s glove 5:58 into the final period to give the Rush a 5-4 lead (Ryan Misiak and Terrence Wallin earned the helpers). Misiak kept his career-night rolling with his second tally of the night when he zipped a sharp-angle shot top-shelf by Greenham to give the Rush another two-goal lead at 6-4 with 7:21 left in the game (Ryan Walters and Mike Monfredo each earned their second assists of the game on the goal). With time winding down, the Thunder pulled Greenham for an extra-attacker, and made things interesting late. With 1:28 left in the game, Macoy Erkamps sent a shot by Lotz through a mass of bodies in front of his net to bring the Thunder within striking distance to close the deficit to 6-5 (Louick Marcotte and Zach O’Brien notched the assists). The Rush pulled away with 57 seconds left when Ryan Misiak capped off his career night with his first professional hat-trick, sealing an eventual 7-5 Rush win (Hunter Fejes and Mike Monfredo earned helpers on the goal).
Austin Lotz earned his first win in a Rush uniform, stopping 23 of 28 shots faced (3-6-2 total).
The Rush continue on their four-game road trip and head to Tulsa to battle the Oilers on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:05 p.m. MST at the BOK Center.