The Yankton Bucks came into a weekend series at the Thunderdome in last place in the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association boys' varsity standings.
Still, the Rushmore Thunder didn't overlook Yankton, took care of business and got out of the weekend with two convincing wins.
Following a Saturday night 10-0 win over the Bucks, Rushmore dominated again Sunday in a 11-2 win which featured seven goals in the second period.
"We stress the word humility, which means not thinking about yourself at all," Thunder coach Dick Novak said. "We stress playing a good team game, being unselfish, moving the puck. Not worrying about who’s scoring goals or doing anything else, just playing good team hockey and we did it for the most part."
The win moved Rushmore to 7-4 in league play on the season and was the seventh in a row for the Thunder.
"We played pretty good, we moved the puck pretty well, we were pretty unselfish," Novak said. "Yankton is still coming along as a program so we caught them when they’re not at the top of their program, they’re still young. Overall I thought we played pretty good and we’re happy."
The goals started quickly for Rushmore. Camden Nayman got the scoring started with a power play goal three minutes and 12 seconds with assists from Scott Kenrick and Blake DeVries. With 7:55 gone in the first, Ryan Nolan scored his first goal with an assist from Duncan Chisolm.
With a big series coming next weekend against the Watertown Lakers (which will feature a game at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Saturday) Nolan stressed how important it was for the Thunder to be focused for both games.
"We focus on our technique and our passing more, things we need to work on. We don’t take anyone lightly," he said. "Their record wasn’t very good coming into (the weekend) but we hadn’t played any games in awhile so we had to make sure we played hard and focused on what we needed to do."
Nolan wears the captain's 'C' on his chest, and said he took a personal responsibility to making sure Rushmore didn't overlook the Bucks.
"I try to get the team going and stay focused on what we’re doing," he said. "Even if you’re up 7-0 we still have to keep going and focus on getting better."
Nayman scored again 50 seconds later with an assist from DeVries, and with 11:11 gone by Kael Delzer got into the mix with a goal on an assist fron Chisolm.
The period ended with a Yankton goal, Jace Kapla scored an unassisted, short-handed goal 14:38 into the period, which ended with Rushmore leading 4-1.
The second period is when the Thunder started to pour it on. Chisolm got the scoring started 1:45 into the period with an unassisted goal, and was followed 4:48 into the frame with an unassisted goal from Delzer.
Nolan found the back of the net 7:15 into the period on assists from Delzer and Caullin Dierkhising which put the Thunder up 7-1, starting a running clock. Only 35 seconds later, Kenrick scored on assists from Nayman and DeVries.
Nolan scored his third goal of the game 11:51 into the period on assists from the same combo of Delzer and Dierkhising. Seth Stock scored on an assist from Nolan 14:26 into the period. DeVries ended the period with a goal with 13 seconds remaining on an assist from Kenrick.
Yankton's Kapla ended the game with a goal 13 minutes into the third with an assist from Caid Koletzky.
Novak said another positive of the weekend was getting more players varsity minutes, as 17 players dressed Sunday.
"We had a lot of guys get some ice time, which is good," he said. "We moved the forwards back to defense for a little while and let the defense play forward for a little bit."
The Thunder outshot the Bucks 48-12. Yankton goalie Ryan Eichacker ended the game with 37 saves while Rushmore goalie Abraham Partridge ended the game with 10.
Rushmore will take on 2-3-0-1 Watertown Saturday at the Civic Center as part of Hockey Day in South Dakota. Following the Thunder game, the Rapid City Rush will host the Tulsa Oilers at 7:05 p.m. at the Civic Center.