The Rapid City Rush find themselves farther away from the ECHL playoffs after dropping their sixth straight game in a 5-3 loss to the Wichita Thunder on Friday in Kansas.
The Rush (29-28-4) are now 0.050 percentage points behind the Utah Grizzlies for the fourth and final playoff spot with 11 games remaining in the regular season. Rapid City has not made the playoffs since 2015.
The Rush's six-game slide is tied for their longest this season, since they opened their campaign 1-6. All of their losses have come in regulation, and they've been outscored 25-11 during that stretch.
After Brayden Watts got the Thunder (38-16-8) on the board at 4:26 of the first period, Cedric Montminy leveled the contest when he fired in a wrister on a 2-on-1 at 18:12 before Avery Peterson followed 48 seconds later when he deflected in a Hunter Garlent shot on a power play to put the Rush up 2-1 at 19:00.
Before the opening frame was over, however, Cam Clarke scored with 15 seconds left to make 2-2 at the first intermission.
Matteo Gennaro put Wichita back on top when he tallied a goal at 6:23 of the second period. Garlent then hauled in a pass from Brandon Magee and rifled in a goal from the slot at 8:28 to level the game again, but Wichita scored at 16:06 of the middle frame to take a 4-3 advantage.
The third period was almost completely scoreless until the Thunder notched a game-sealing empty-netter with one minute to play in regulation.
Adam Carlson got the start in net but was taken out at the first intermission after making 12 save and giving up two goals, and was replaced by Dave Tendeck, who stopped 17 shots and allowed two goals.
The Rush are back in action Saturday for the second of three road meetings with the Thunder.
Contact Matt Case at firstname.lastname@example.org