Wichita, KS (Oct. 25th) - Gary Steffes recorded two goals, including the game-winner early in the third period to hand the visitors from Allen a 5-3 win over the Thunder on Saturday night at INTRUST Bank Arena. Wichita was paced by three different scorers including Jared Walker who scored a shorthanded goal and had five shots on net. 7,004 fans took in the contest for the team's home and season opener. Wichita drops their home opener for the second-straight season and is now 11-11-1 all-time in Opening Day home games.
Wichita got on the board late in the first period as Stephen Schultz received a terrific feed through the slot and fired a snap shot over Aaron Dell's glove. The goal was the only tally for either team despite the Americans outshooting the Thunder 9-1 at one point. Wichita climbed back and started to get some offensive chances late and were rewarded for it with under two minutes remaining on the clock.
Allen charged back at the start of the second period and took their first lead of the game with goals just 49 seconds apart. Tyler Ludwig tied the game, showing great hand-eye coordination picking the puck out of mid-air and slamming it home. At 2:43, Brian McMillin put Allen up 2-1 with a goal from in close. The two teams would then exchange goals and head into the final frame tied at three. Erick Lizon punched home his first of the season at 5:25 and tied it at two. Steffes scored his first of two at 8:39 on the man advantage from Jack Combs and Chad Costello. The Americans were awarded another power play with 13:24 remaining as Miller was sent off for tripping. The Thunder would respond as Walker stole the puck in the neutral zone and raced down on a break-a-way. Dell made the initial save, but Walker stayed with it and pounded it home to tie the game at three.
Early in the final frame, Steffes recorded the game-winner at 4:01 getting a pass across the crease and found the back of the net. Ian Schultz added an insurance marker and the Americans walked out of the Air Capital with a 5-3 win.
Eight different players recorded points for the Thunder including Michael Trebish who had two assists. Tim Boron suffered the loss, stopping 22 of 27 shots he faced. Dell earned his first win of the season, stopping 19 of 22 shots on net.
Wichita went 0-for-5 on the power play. Allen was 2-for-7 with the man advantage.
The Thunder conclude their opening weekend with a trip tomorrow afternoon to the BOK Center to face the Tulsa Oilers at 4:05 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.