Wichita, KS (Feb. 15th) - Wichita (23-18-2-5) closed out a busy weekend on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Allen Americans (34-8-3-2) in a shootout by the final score of 6-5 at INTRUST Bank Arena in front of 7,005 fans. The Thunder led by two goals heading into the third period, but failed to hold onto the lead as Greger Hanson scored with just over a minute remaining and forced the game past regulation. Allen wins for the first time against the Thunder when a game goes past 60 minutes and leads the season-series 6-1-2-1 (Wichita is 4-5-0-1). The two teams will close out a three-game mini-series this upcoming Wednesday night.
Eric Meland found the net twice and added an assist to lead the way for Wichita. Kenton Miller had two points and Ian Lowe added two helpers.
Allen leaped out to a two-goal lead in the first period. Tyler Ludwig recorded his 13th of the season at 13:17, firing a shot from the blue line on a five-on-three to make it 1-0. At 16:18, Spencer Asuchak gave the Americans a 2-0 lead with assists to Gary Steffes and Hanson. The Thunder cut into the lead at 18:27 as Meland jumped into the play and put home a rebound for his first of two on the night.
In the second, the Thunder grabbed all the momentum, scoring three-straight and led 5-2 midway through. Mike Wilson added his fifth of the season at 1:23 with a power play goal that tied the contest at two. 26 seconds later, Danick Gauthier unloaded a wrist shot that beat Riley Gill past the glove and gave Wichita its first lead of the night. Meland recorded his second tally at 10:54 with helpers from Wilson and Kirill Tulupov. The Americans stopped the bleeding with a power play marker from Chad Costello, who had two on the night, and made it 4-3. At 17:21, Miller found the back of the net with an assist to Lowe that made it 5-3.
The Americans tied the game with two third period markers in the last five minutes of regulation. Costello got Allen back within one with a wrist shot from the slot at 15:34 for his 24th of the year. With just over a minute left, Gill headed to the bench for the extra attacker. Hanson corralled a loose puck at the side of the net at 18:49 and tied the contest at five. The final horn sounded and for the second-straight night, Wichita and Allen needed overtime.
Both teams had some good chances in the extra session, but failed to end it through five minutes of play. The game headed to a shootout, which is the second time the two teams needed penalty shots to decide the outcome. Justin Bernhardt buried a wrist shot at the bottom of round two that gave Wichita a 1-0 lead. It would go all the way until round five before Ian Schultz tied it at one a-piece. Jamie Schaafsma and Eric Meland were both stopped in round six. At the top of round seven, Spencer Asuchak beat Tim Boron while Gill stopped Todd Hosmer and the game ended with the Americans taking a 6-5 victory.
Wichita loses for the first time past regulation against Allen and is 1-1 in shootouts in the season-series. The Thunder scored four goals in the second period, which is the second time in the last three games that Wichita has put up a four-spot. Meland led the way for the Thunder with three points, which is his first three-point outing of the year. Bernhardt collected an assist, giving him seven points in three games this weekend and points in his last four (5g, 3a). Miller finished with a goal and an assist while Wilson had the same. Boron takes the shootout loss, stopping 27 of 32 shots. Gill claims the win, stopping 32 of 37 shots he faced.
Wichita went 2-for-7 on the power play. Allen was 2-for-9 with the man advantage.
Wichita has a few days off before heading to Allen on Wednesday night starting 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.