Nelson Leads Rush to Victory in Wichita, 3-2
WICHITA, KS – Logan Nelson continues to be a nemesis to his old team, scoring a goal and adding two assists to lead the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 victory over the Wichita Thunder. Brett Gravelle and Alex Aleardi each had two points and Connor Murphy made 19 saves to earn the win. Roman Kinal and Xavier Pouliot scored for Wichita.
It took just 31 seconds for Rapid City to jump out in front. A turnover inside the Wichita zone, put the puck right onto the stick of Nelson. He quickly passed it to Aleardi, who made a one touch pass to Gravelle. Gravelle redirected the puck by Beck Warm for his second goal of the year.
The lead held for under three minutes as Pouliot tied the score at 3:22. The defenseman intercepted a clearing attempt inside the Rush zone, then blasted a shot that beat Murphy for his third goal of the season.
The score remained tied over the next 12 minutes, but Nelson gave his team the lead for good at 15:13. With the Rush on the power-play, Gravelle fed the puck to Nelson at the left faceoff circle, who blew a one-timer by Warm for his third tally of the year.
The lead held through the first intermission and into the first 11 minutes of the second period when T.J. Fergus extended the lead to two. For the second time, Rapid City used the man-advantage to make it a two-goal lead. Aleardi passed the puck to Fergus in the high slot, who blew a shot by Warm. Nelson earned his second assist of the night on the play.
Wichita was able to cut the deficit to one when Kinal scored just after the 14-minute mark. Dillon Boucher passed the puck to Kinal along the boards, who moved just outside the left faceoff circle before lifting a shot that beat Murphy over the shoulder for his third goal of the season.
Neither team was able to generate any offense in the third, as both clubs recorded seven shots apiece. Rapid City finished with 31 shots with Warm saving 28. Wichita put 21 shots on Murphy. The Rush went 2-4 on the power-play while the Thunder were 0-5.
These two teams will close out their three-game series on Sunday. The puck drops at 4:00.
By Robert Pannier