Bates Career Night Propels Thunder in Rout of Rush
WICHITA, KS – With both Quinn Preston and Brayden Watts out, the Wichita Thunder were looking for someone to step up to produce some goals and Peter Bates responded, netting his first professional hat trick while recording a single-game high five points to lead the Thunder to a 6-2 victory over the Rapid City Rush. Bates’ line was dominate, with center Brett Van Os scoring four points and Timur Ibragimov added two assists. Kyle Rhodes had the first two goal game of his career and added an assist.
Rapid City was pressuring the Thunder right off, getting three great scoring chances in the first few minutes, but Evan Buitenhuis was spectacular, making two great pad saves and a glove save to keep this game scoreless.
His team rewarded him just after the nine-minute mark, scoring two goals within the span of 27 seconds. Rhodes put his team on top at 9:22, taking a cross ice pass from Van Os, then lifting a wrist shot over the shoulder of Adam Carlson on the short side to make it 1-0. It was the first goal of the season for Rhodes.
Bates scored his first goal of the night 27 seconds later. Ibragimov took a shot that Bates redirected by Carlson for his eighth goal of the season.
The Rush were suddenly back on their heels, but Chris Van Os-Shaw took a penalty moments after the Bates tally and Rapid City responded, as Ryan Zuhlsdorf took a shot that Buitenhuis saved, but Brett Gravelle put in the rebound for his eighth goal of the year.
With 26 seconds left in the period, Rapid City tied the score when Carter Robertson blasted a shot from the point that beat the Wichita netminder to tie the game at two. It was a stunning turn of events as Rapid City was suddenly back in this game and put pressure on early in the second. However, it would be Bates putting his team on top for good at 4:21. Ibragimov waited for a moment for Bates to get into position, then made a perfect cross ice feed to his linemate who was just above the right faceoff circle. Bates blasted home a one-timer to make it 3-2.
At 12:44 and the Thunder on the power-play, Van Os scored his fifth goal of the season to extend the lead to two. Bates set the play up, looking like he was going to move toward the high slot, then he saw a path toward the net, splitting between two defensemen before taking a shot. Carlson made the save, but Van Os jumped on the rebound, putting it past the Rush goaltender to make it 4-2.
Wichita was in command but was not done. Rhodes scored his second goal of the game 53 seconds into the third. The defenseman took a shot from just inside the blueline that Colton Leiter tried to knock down, but the puck deflected off his stick and past his netminder to make it 5-2.
Bates completed the hat trick at 3:21, scoring the second power-play goal of the game for Wichita. Dylan MacPherson found Bates at the right faceoff circle, who fired a one-timer that beat Daniil Chechelev for his first professional hat trick. Bates added two assists in the game giving him five total points.
Van Os finished with a goal and three assists for Wichita. Rhodes had three points. Ibragamov and MacPherson each had two assists. Buitenhuis was sensational between the pipes, stopping 49 shots. He has stopped at least 32 shots in seven straight games and his 49 saves was a season high.
The Wichita Thunder (24-16-3) will welcome the Rapid City Rush (20-22-1) again on Sunday. The puck drops at 2:05.
By Robert Pannier