Dickman Records Five Points as Thunder Sweep Weekend Set
WICHITA, KS – Jay Dickman scored two goals and added three assists, leading the Wichita Thunder to a 6-3 victory over the Rapid City Rush, sweeping the two game weekend set. The Thunder took a 5-0 lead before Rapid City was able to battle back to make this a two-goal game. However, Dickman sealed the victory with his 12th career empty net tally, his second goal of the game. Quinn Preston returned to record three points and Michal Stinil had three points as well. Evan Buitenhuis made over 40 saves for the second save night.
Wichita dominated this game from the start, scoring four first period goals. The Thunder were outshot 13-12 in the first, but scored on three of their first seven shots. Stinil got things going 7:15 into the contest. Preston moved in toward the left faceoff circle, then turned toward the boards, passing the puck to Stinil, who blasted a one-timer over the shoulder of Daniil Chechelev for his 21st goal of the year.
Four minutes later, Dickman netted his first goal of the night. This time it was Stinil providing the helper, making a great pass across the crease to Dickman, who redirected the puck in for his 15th goal of the year.
Just after the 14-minute mark, Preston scored on the power-play to extend the lead to three. Cole MacDonald blasted a shot from the point that Chechelev saved, but Preston scooped up the rebound, putting it back on net. Once again, the Rush netminder made the save, but Preston continued to battle, chipping the puck to his right, then putting it past Chechelev, giving him a three-point night.
With 1:17 left, Peter Bates netted his 11th goal of the season and fourth in the last two games. Timur Ibragimov burst into the Rapid City zone, moving quickly toward the left circle. He then stopped, waited for a sliding defenseman to move past, then made a perfect cross ice feed to Bates, who waited for Chechelev to slide to far to his left before firing a wrist shot that found the inside of the far post to make it 4-0.
The lead became five when Stinil scored his second goal of the game 8:41 into the second. Dickman picked the pocket of a Rush player in the corner, then moved along the boards before finding Stinil streaking down the slot. Stinil blasted a one-timer in for his 22nd of the year, tying Brayden Watts for the team lead.
The Thunder were in complete control, as Rapid City looked tired and a step too slow, but the team got back into the contest when Max Coatta notched his 10th goal of the season at 12:07. Kenton Helgesen fired a shot that was knocked down, but Coatta put in the rebound to make it 5-1.
With 2:30 left in the period, Keanu Yamamoto scored on the power-play to make this a three-goal game. A shot was knocked down in front, leaving the puck loose just outside the crease. Calder Brooks noticed Yamamoto alone inside the left faceoff circle, and was able to push the puck that way. Yamamoto blasted a one-timer by Buitenhuis with his 10th goal of the year.
The Thunder were able to limit the Rush offense through the 14 minutes of the third, but Brooks made this a two-goal game when scored his 18th goal of the season at 14:28. Matt Marcinew found Brooks moving down the left side. He moved in on Buitenhuis, lifting a perfect shot over the netminder’s shoulder to make it 5-3.
The rush were within two, but Dickman sealed the victory with eight seconds left. With Chechelev on the bench for the extra attacker, Jake Wahlin stole the puck in the neutral zone, then moved in with Dickman on a 2-on-1. The two passed the puck back and forth before Dickman put the puck in for his 16th goal of the season.
Dickman finished with two goals and three assists. The five points was a single game high for the forward. Buitenhuis stopped 44 shots. He stopped 93 shots over the last two games.
The Wichita Thunder (25-16-3) will travel to take on the Kansas City Mavericks (18-18-5) on Tuesday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier