Gennaro, McKenna Lead Thunder Past Rush, 4-1
A night after having no success against rookie netminder David Tendeck, the Wichita Thunder rode the coattails of superstar forward Matteo Gennaro on their way to a 4-1 victory. Gennaro scored two goals and added an assist and Jeremy McKenna added two assists to give Wichita their fourth victory in their last five games at home.
The Thunder started out quickly, looking like they were going to take the lead at the 10-minute mark. McKenna took the puck in the neutral zone and sped in on Tendeck on a breakaway. He got the netminder leaning the other way before trying to tuck the puck to the opposite corner of the net, but Tendeck was able to kick out his foot and make a great toe save to keep the game scoreless.
A little over four minutes later the Thunder got on the board. The pass came back to Gennaro at the point, who fired a blistering slapshot that beat the Rapid City netminder for his seventh goal of the year.
Wichita looked like they would head to the locker room leading 1-0, but Rapid City had other ideas, tying the score with 31 seconds left in the first. The Rush won the draw in the Wichita end. Gabriel Chabot passed the puck back to Ian Edmondson who fired a shot that Andrew Sturtz redirected just under the crossbar for his first goal of the season.
If the Thunder were down about the late turn of events, it did not show coming out of the first break. Right off, they retook the lead. Jay Dickman fired a shot from the point that missed the net but bounced to side of the crease. Anthony Beauregard was standing near the loose puck and was crosschecked by an opposing defender in the back, knocking him down. However, while he was going down, he had the will to reach out and knock the puck past Tendeck for his second goal of the year.
About three minutes later, the Rush nearly tied the score. A wild scramble in front of the net gave Rapid City two-point blank opportunities on Thunder goalie Evan Weninger, but the netminder was brilliant, finding a way to weave through a pile of bodies surrounding him to make two brilliant saves.
That proved to be huge as at 5:30 the Wichita lead became two. McKenna had the puck just inside the Rapid City end. He made a great pass to Gennaro just as he was splitting between two defensemen. Gennaro moved across the crease, getting Tendeck down, then slipped the puck just inside the post for his second goal of the game.
It was 3-1 heading into the third, when the Thunder would add one more insurance goal. At 6:26, McKenna carried the puck into the Rush end. He made a great pass to Cam Clarke who was heading toward the net. Clarke redirected the puck past the Rapid City netminder and in for his first professional goal. That made it 4-1.
Weninger finished with 33 saves. Tendeck stopped 27 shots. Wichita moved to 8-3-1 (17 points), tied with Utah for second in the Western Conference. Rapid City (6-11-0) is in sixth.
These teams will go at it one more time on Sunday afternoon. The puck drops at 4:05.
By Robert Pannier