Wichita, KS (March 1st) - Wichita and Allen have played in some high-scoring contests as of late and that trend continued on Sunday afternoon. The Americans (37-10-4-3) jumped out to a three-goal lead and held on late, getting past Wichita (25-21-2-5) by the final score of 6-4 at INTRUST Bank Arena. The Thunder trailed 5-2 with less than seven minutes remaining, but got back into the game with two late goals and almost tied it with 30 seconds remaining. In five of the last of the last six meetings, the two teams have combined for 10 or more goals and nine or more in six-straight. Wichita drops to 5-6-0-1 against Allen and remains one point back of Rapid City for the final playoff spot with 57 points.
Danick Gauthier led the Thunder with three points while Mike Wilson, Eric Meland and Ian Lowe each had a goal and an assist.
The Americans got on the board first with two goals in the last five minutes of the opening frame. Jamie Schaafsma recorded his 13th of the season after re-collecting his own rebound and beat Tim Boron from the bottom of the right circle at 15:52. He assisted on the second goal, firing a shot from the blue line that went off of Gary Steffes and past Tim Boron to make it 2-0 at 18:53.
The two teams combined for five goals in the second period. Aaron Gens connected on the power play at 4:36 to up the lead to 3-0. Wichita scored the next two that were just 52 seconds apart. The Thunder went on an extended power play that saw Kevin Young go off for four minutes and Trevor Ludwig take a seat for two minutes for roughing. At 7:05, Wilson knocked a loose puck out of the air past Riley Gill and got the Thunder on the board to make it 3-1. Meland bombed a shot from the deep slot and it past Gill to make it 3-2. Allen answered quickly, however, as Chad Costello found the back of the net for his 29th of the season at 8:18 to increase the lead back to two. At 18:17, Kirill Tulupov was awarded a penalty shot. He came out of the penalty box and came down on a breakaway on Gill, but was hooked between the face-off circles. He had Gill beat on the opportunity, but hit the post that would have cut back into the Americans lead. Right after, Greger Hanson ended the second-period barrage with a goal at 18:32, again on the power play.
In the third, Nikita Kashirsky connected on a wrap-around that went through Gill's five hole at 13:29 and cut the lead to 5-3. Late in the game, Wichita was awarded another power play as Justin Baker was sent off for hooking. The Thunder scored on the chance to make it a one-goal contest. A dump-in off the door leading to the referee room caromed to the slot and Lowe lifted a wrist shot past Gill's glove. Wichita pulled Boron and appeared to tie the contest with less than 35 seconds remaining. Lowe won a battle to a loose puck, poked it to the crease and Kashirksy was there for the chance. Steven Tarasuk cross-checked him into Gill and the whistle blew as the red light went off. The official determined that the play was dead before the puck had crossed the line. Shortly after, Steffes recorded his second of the game with an empty-netter at 19:41 that sealed the deal.
Tempers started to flare as time ran down and things got out of hand. With less than a second remaining, Todd Hosmer and Jesse Messier started shoving each other in front of the Wichita bench. Players came together and three separate fights ensued. Hanson got tangled up with Kenton Miller. Mike MacIntyre went toe-to-toe with Nolan Descoteaux and Dan Milan dropped the gloves with Justin Baker. Eight fighting majors were assessed as Steffes and Hosmer were also given major penalties.
Wichita connected on a season-high three power play tallies and has two or more goals on the man advantage against Allen in three-straight contests. Gauthier added three assists, which is a new season-high for most assists in a game and pushed his point-streak to seven (4g, 8a). Wilson moved two points closer to 200 in his career with a goal and an assist. Kashirsky has goals in four-straight and points in his last five (4g, 2a). Boron suffered the loss, stopping 24 of 29 shots. Gill claimed his 27th victory, stopping 32 of 35 shots he faced.
Wichita went 3-for-11 on the man advantage. Allen was 3-for-8 on the power play.
Wichita closes its five-game homestand on Wednesday night as the Rapid City Rush come in for the final regular season meeting. Opening face-off starts at 7:05 p.m.
Individual tickets are on sale now. Don't delay! Tickets can be purchased at the INTRUST Arena Box office, by calling 755-SEAT or go online at www.selectaseat.com. Stay up-to-date on all the news during the season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 541 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2013-14 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.