PARK CITY — The boredom and the boos returned to the Kansas Coliseum on Wednesday.
Under interim coach Jason Duda, the Wichita Thunder had been playing with more energy, hustling to the puck and dishing out crowd-pleasing hits.
On Wednesday, the Thunder of old returned.
Listless play, few hits, and another loss.
When the 3-1 setback was complete, the fans booed.
Duda sounded as if he understood their reaction.
"It was ugly," he said. "We did nothing well tonight."
The game was all but over when the Thunder (3-11-2) finally scored. Defenseman Jordan Little's first goal of the season provided the game's final margin.
In the past three games, all losses, Wichita has managed only six goals — and forwards have chipped in just two of those.
The Thunder, which dropped to 2-6-1 at home, was zero for seven on the power play and had 19 shots, including only three in the third period.
"Right now, we're a muck and grind team," Duda said. "We're not gonna score five or six goals a night. We have to do all the little things correct.
"We have to forecheck, we have to play physical, and we just didn't do any of that tonight."
Less than two minutes into the game, Rapid City worked the give and go, with Luke Erickson scoring to put the Rush up 1-0.
At the 8:55 mark, Rapid City scored on the power play, the puck hitting Jon Horrell and dribbling past him into the net.
Thunder killer Colt King added another power-play goal in the third, lifting the Rush to a 3-0 lead. King has 14 points in 10 games against the Thunder the past two years.
Notes — A group of students from St. John's Military School deserved an assist on Little's goal. The group, sitting in the first five rows of section 117, started a "Let's Go Thunder" chant, got most of the Coliseum into it, and the team scored about 15 seconds later....Glenn Detulleo's scoring streak ended at six games.... Marc Belanger snapped a five-game scoreless streak with an assist on Little's goal.... Give Thunder defenseman Chris McAllister, who played 301 games in the NHL, credit for not taking himself too seriously. During a stoppage, he somehow tripped himself up and fell to the ice. He was all grins afterward.... Dave "Ogie" Ogron, who bills himself as the world's fastest golfer, performed during first intermission. He hit 80 golf balls, which he celebrated as a world record.
Rapid City 2 1 0 — 3 Wichita 0 0 1 — 1
First period—1. Rapid City, Erickson 3 (Wray) 1:59; 2. Rapid City, Wray 5 (Cook, Hodge) 8:55 pp. Penalties— Wichita, McAllister (roughing) 6:24; Wichita, Woll (tripping) 7:27; Rapid City, Fritshaw (holding) 10:52; Wichita, McAllister (roughing) 18:25; Rapid City, Reaney (high sticking) 18:25; Rapid City, Fritshaw (boarding) 19:39.
Second period—3. Rapid City, King 11 (Hansen, Wray) 11:23 pp. Penalties— Wichita, Thompson (hooking) 1:31; Rapid City, Plume (holding) 4:52; Wichita, Little (holding) 7:46; Rapid City, Fritshaw (fighting) 10:30; Wichita, Kovalcik (instigation, fighting, misconduct) 10:30; Rapid City, Falmminio (flashing) 13:34; Wichita, Deleurme (unsportsmanlike conduct) 15:02; Rapid City, Jarvis (unsportsmanlike conduct) 15:02; Rapid City, Ustrnul (holding) 17:56.
Third period—4. Wichita, Little 1 (Belanger, Thompson) 7:07. Penalties— Rapid City, Leblanc (tripping) 8:53; Rapid City, Fritshaw (slashing) 16:02.
Power play—Rapid City 2-5, Wichita 0-7. Shots on goal— Rapid City 8-6-5—19, Wichita 5-11-3—19. Goaltender— Rapid City, Battochio 18 saves on 19 shots; Wichita, Horrell 16 saves on 19 shots. Att.— 3,148.