Wichita, KS (Oct. 12th) - Wichita took advantage of a late five-on-three power play and held on for a 4-3 victory over Rapid City on Saturday night at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Chris Crane and Stefan Fournier recorded power play tallies just 49 seconds apart and Mitch Gillam stood firm down the stretch, stopping 28 of 31 shots he faced for his first win in a Thunder uniform.
For much of the first period, Wichita controlled the play and got on the board first. Fournier found a rebound at 2:54 off a shot from Brendan Smith and he buried it. The Thunder peppered Erik Kellgren with 19 shots and took the one-goal lead into the locker room.
Steven Iacbobellis increased the advantage for the Thunder at 4:57 of the second. He batted a rebound out of the air that took a weird bounce and got through for his first of the season. Rapid City came storming back and grabbed its first lead. Trey Phillips tallied his first of the year at 5:30 to cut the lead to 2-1. Giovanni Fiori tied the contest at 14:50 as he slid a shot through traffic that got through Mitch Gillam. Cedric Montminy gave the Rush their first lead at 18:22 on the power play to make it 3-2.
At 3:37 of the third, Rapid City was tagged for a too many men on the ice penalty along with a trip that gave the Thunder a two-man advantage. Crane tied it up at 4:47 after receiving a great pass across the goal-mouth from Iacobellis and buried his second of the season. Fournier gave the Thunder a 4-3 lead at 5:24, recording his second of the night. He came in up the left wing and beat Kellgren with a wrist shot for his third of the year. Rapid City gave one last push in the final minute, but Gillam shut the door and Wichita grabbed its first win of the season.
Wichita netted its first two power play goals of the year in the win. Fournier led the way with a pair while Iacobellis (1g, 1a), Smith (2a) and Widmar (2a) each had two points. The Thunder had their first video review of the season on the Iacobellis goal.
After opening up with two home games, the Thunder hits the road for the next three starting on Wednesday night at the Maverik Center against the Utah Grizzlies.
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