Konrad Reeder spoiled Wichita's home-opener, scoring with less than five minutes remaining in regulation to help Rapid City leap ahead for a 2-1 victory on Friday night at INTRUST Bank Arena in front of 5,229. RG Flath scored the only Thunder goal of the night and his first of the season. Wichita drops its second-straight home-opener, losing last year to Tulsa 4-3.
Flath got the Thunder on the board in the first period after getting a nice feed in front and burying it past former Thunder netminder Tim Boron at the four minute mark to put Wichita up 1-0. The Thunder found themselves shorthanded much of the first period, having to kill off four opportunities and seeing another carry over into the second. Rapid City out-shot the Thunder 20-5 in the opening frame, but Torrie Jung stood strong.
In the second, Jesse Schultz tied things up after receiving a nice no-look pass from Jared Brown and scored on the man advantage with the second assist to Tristin Llewellyn at 17:16.
Wichita had some tremendous chances down the stretch, but was unable to solve Boron. Matt Robinson was able to step around a defender at the Rush blue line and went in all alone only to be denied by Boron who went down on his stomach and stuck his leg out to shut the door. The Thunder were then given a few power plays in the final frame and Jesse Dudas unloaded a one-timer that Boron stopped with his right leg to keep the game tied. At 15:03, Reeder took advantage when the puck appeared to hit the netting twice, once in the Rapid zone and again in the Wichita end and he buried a shot past Jung to give the Rush a 2-1 lead. Wichita pulled its goalie down the stretch, but was unable to get the equalizer.
Wichita has faced Rapid City twice in the last three seasons in the home-opener and is now 1-1-0, winning two years ago 3-2. Flath recorded his 105th goal in a Thunder uniform while Andrew Martens collected his 90th assist in Thunder blue. Jung takes the loss, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced while Boron stopped 16 of 17 shots.
Wichita was 1-for-5 on the power play and Rapid City went 1-for-8
Wichita returns to home-ice tomorrow night to take on the Allen Americans at 7:05 p.m. Tomorrow afternoon is the annual Block Party, driven by Toyota and the US Army. There will all kinds of fun events and give-a-ways in front of Entrances A and B. The Block Party kicks off at 4 p.m. and goes until 6 p.m. Tomorrow is also Speedy Cash Golden Ticket Night. More details will be announced tomorrow morning.
Individual game tickets are on sale now. Season tickets and mini plans are still available. Don’t delay, contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625. Stay up-to-date on all the news this season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.