Wichita, KS (Oct. 17th) - Ian Lowe recorded the game-winner in round five to propel Wichita (2-0-0-0) to a 5-4 shootout victory on Saturday night against Quad City (1-0-0-1) at INTRUST Bank Arena. Five different players found the back of the net while Lowe and Danick Gauthier each potted two assists. The Thunder take the first game of the season-series and will play the Mallards in Moline, Il a week from Sunday.
The Thunder started the scoring early in the first period. Brandon Martell found a loose puck in front of the Quad City net and banged home a rebound past Mallards goalie Steve Michalek to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Quad City tied the game late in the opening frame when Vladimir Nikiforov made a nifty play at the side of the net and beat Grant Rollheiser at 18:17.
Wichita capitalized early in the second when Todd Hosmer stole the puck at the top of the right circle and fired a low wrist shot to make it 2-1. Michael Neal gave the Thunder a two-goal cushion when he put home a rebound on the power play at 3:21. Quad City answered at the 11 minute-mark when Logan Nelson scored his first of two in the period that made it 3-2. He recorded his third of the season at 12:45 on a breakaway that tied the game at three.
In the third, Andy Huff found a loose puck that slid across the crease and poked it in to make it a 4-3 contest in favor of the home team. The Mallards answered late after their second power play had expired. Matt Neal found the back of the net at 18:14 that once again tied the see-saw game and forced overtime. Wichita would carry a power play into the extra period after Darren McMillan pulled down Hosmer along the penalty box wall.
The overtime started with the Thunder on a four-on-three advantage, but they were unable to get one past Michalek. At 2:15, Dan Milan was called for goalie interference when he ran into Michalek at the side of the net and gave Quad City a chance on the power play. Wichita was able to get through the man advantage and the game headed into a shootout.
Joey Sides got things started at the bottom of round one as he scored while falling down to make it 1-0. Raphael Bussieres tied the shootout at the top of round two. The next five shooters were denied by the netminders, giving Lowe a chance to be the hero. He carried the puck out wide to the left and fired a wrist shot past Michalek to give Wichita a shootout victory.
Hosmer finished with two points (1g, 1a) while Gauthier and Lowe had two helpers to lead the way. Lowe also recorded his seventh shootout goal in a Thunder uniform. Rollheiser earns the victory, stopping 26 of 30 shots. Michalek took the shootout loss, stopping 20 of 24 shots on net.
Wichita went 1-for-2 on the power play. Quad City was 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
The Thunder remains home next weekend when the Missouri Mavericks come to town for the first time this season on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.
Individual tickets for all games are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the INTRUST Arena Box office, by calling 855-755-SEAT or go online at www.selectaseat.com.
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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.