Stinil, Bates Lead Thunder Past Rush, 4-2
Wichita, KS – Peter Bates and Michal Stinil each had a goal and two assists to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 4-2 victory over the Rapid City Rush. The Thunder scored the first three goals of the contest, only to watch the Rush battle back to pull within one. However, Wichita sealed the victory with a late goal. Eetu Makiniemi earned the win in his first start for the Thunder, stopping 31 shots.
Stinil gave his team the lead 9:19 into the contest when he scored his fifth goal of the year. After Ethan Roswell took the puck away along the boards inside his own zone, he fed the puck to Bates, who quickly dished it to Stinil. The forward led a 2-on-1 rush through the neutral zone and into the Rapid City end where he decided to rip a wrist show, beating Matt Radomsky to give the Thunder a one-goal lead heading into the first break.
The Thunder rolled in the early part of the second period, scoring two goals within the first five minutes. Bates made it 2-0 at 1:05 when he scored his team-leading eighth goal of the year. Stinil was able to deny a clearing attempt at the Rush blueline, gaining control of the puck before passing it to Bates, who blasted a one-timer by the Rapid City netminder. The tally gave Bates goals in four straight games (4 G, 5 A).
Just before the five-minute mark, Aaron Miller scored on the power-play to make it 3-0. Bates passed the puck to Miller near the right faceoff circle, but Miller was unable to corral it initially. He then gained control, firing a shot that lifted past Radomsky for his second goal of the year.
The Rush were down, but rebounded to pull within one, scoring two goals within the span of a little less than seven minutes. Jarrod Gourley put Rapid City on the board when Keanu Yamamoto took a shot that Gourley redirected by Makiniemi for his third goal of the season.
With 5:31 left, Maurizio Colella made it a one-goal Thunder advantage. His shot bounced off the ice, eluding a Wichita defenseman before bouncing through the Thunder netminder to make it 3-2.
The Rush were buzzing and continued to dominate play in the third, outshooting the Thunder, 15-6. However, Lleyton Moore scored his second goal of the season with just under five minutes left to seal the win. Moore picked the pocket of a Rush player at the Wichita blueline, then led a rush the other way. He passed the puck to Jason Pineo, who took a shot that Radomsky saved, but Moore pounced on the rebound, stuffing it home to make it 4-2. That would be the final.
The Wichita Thunder (5-7-1) host the Rush (4-7-1) again on Saturday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier