Furious Rally Falls Short in Shootout Loss to Allen
Wichita, KS (March 23rd) - Trailing by three with eight minutes remaining, Wichita (26-28-8) mounted a tremendous comeback only to fall just short to the Allen Americans (38-20-5) by the final score of 5-4 in shootout on Sunday afternoon at INTRUST Bank Arena. The Thunder recorded two goals in the final minute including a power play tally from Andrew Martens with eight seconds remaining that forced overtime. Wichita finishes 3-2-2 in the regular season-series against the Americans. With the shootout loss, the Thunder are officially eliminated from the playoffs sitting six points back of the Arizona Sundogs for eighth place.
Allen jumped out to a quick two-goal lead for the second time this week against the Thunder. Anthony Maiani redirected a shot from Spencer Asuchak at 4:47 to make it 1-0. Brian McMillin added to it when he came around the Thunder cage and threw a shot along the ice as he was falling down that got underneath Taylor Nelson to push the score to 2-0 at 8:45. Wichita answered right away when RG Flath potted his 23rd of the season just 45 seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1.
Jonathan Lessard netted a pair of goals in the second. His first was on the power play at 16:52 after he got around the Thunder net and put it home to re-gain a two-goal lead. Lessard scored his second of the frame almost two minutes later on a nifty stick handling play near the Thunder net and pushed the lead to 4-1. The Americans limited Wichita offensively, but finished with six in the period.
The third was a complete opposite of the second. The Thunder arguably played their best period of the season and broke through at 12:23 when Tomas Klempa found the back of the net to cut the lead to two. At one point, Wichita outshot Allen 11-1 as the Americans were content with sitting back and dumping the puck out of its own zone. David Brown, who was inserted at the start of the third, was pulled with a minute remaining and Matt Summers inched the Thunder closer closer scoring at 19:20. The Americans were unhappy with a non-call during the play and Dallas Ehrhardt paid for it with a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct. 32 seconds later, Andrew Martens one-timed a shot past Pitton from the top of the right circle and tied the game with eight seconds left in regulation. The game ended up going into overtime.
Wichita outshot the Americans in the overtime session 5-3, but Pitton kept the puck from getting past him. The two teams needed a shootout for the first time since opening weekend in the season-series. Bruce Graham and Matt Summers got their respective teams on the board in round two. Tyler Ludwig scored with a wrist shot over Brown's glove to give the Americans a 2-1 advantage. Klempa was next, but he was stopped by Pitton's glove. Asuchak scored at the top of round four to make it 3-1. Flath was next, but he was stopped and Allen finished with the shootout victory.
Klempa finished with three points (1g, 2a) and extended his point-streak to six games. Summers had a goal and an assist along with a +3. Flath tallied his 73rd goal of his Thunder career and has points in his last seven games (3g, 6a). Brown takes the shootout loss, stopping all six shots he faced in just 23 minutes he worked. Pitton claimed the victory, stopping 34 of 38 shots.
Wichita was 1-for-2 on the power play. Allen went 1-for-1 on the man advantage.
Wichita heads on the road for the final week of the regular season starting next Wednesday against the Arizona Sundogs at 8:35 p.m.
2014-15 season tickets are on sale now! 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.
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