West Valley City, UT (Feb. 24th) - Wichita battled back twice and tied the game with eight seconds left in regulation, but fell in a shootout by the final of 5-4 at Maverik Center.
With the shootout loss, Wichita gains a point and leads the Tulsa Oilers by six for third place in the Mountain Division. Nick Latta tied the game with a power play goal to force overtime. Ralph Cuddemi had two assists while Travis Brown and Jeremy Beaudry found the back of the net.
Jake Marchment put the Grizzlies on the board first 3:38 into the game on the power play. Wichita pulled even as Brown scored with a wrist shot from the blue line at 15:29 to make it 1-1. Austin Ortega re-gained the lead for Utah at 17:41 and took a 2-1 advantage into the first intermission.
Beaudry made a beautiful play in the second and recorded his 11th of the year at 5:56 to tie it at two. He caught a pass from Kevin Dufour, stickhandled through the slot and beat Sean Maguire with a backhand. At 14:49, Guillaume Lepine scored to make it 3-2 and gave Wichita its first lead of the contest.
Utah scored twice in the third to pull ahead 4-3. Taylor Richart found the net at 7:34 to tie it at three. Rob Mann put the Grizzlies up 4-3 at 11:49 during a three-on-two rush up the ice. Nick Riopel was lifted with just over a minute to go in regulation to make it a six-on-five situation on the ice. Michael Pelech was then called for a cross check and the Thunder had a two-man advantage. Mark MacMillan made a terrific play near the bottom of the right circle, found Latta and he tied it at four.
Wichita began overtime shorthanded when Travis Ewanyk was whistled for roughing with four seconds to go in regulation. After killing off the penalty, neither team could find the net and the contest headed into a shootout.
Sam Babintsev scored at the top of round one, beating Riopel on his off-side to make it 1-0. Dufour was next, but he was stopped by Maguire. Ortega and Pelech were both stopped by Riopel and that left it up to Chad Butcher for the Thunder. He was denied by Maguire and Utah claimed a 5-4 win.
Wichita has appeared in a shootout situation in three of the last five games to decide the outcome. Cuddemi extended his point-streak to four games, recording seven points over that span (4g, 3a). Latta had a goal and an assist. Lepine netted his fourth goal of the season.
Wichita went 1-for-6 on the power play. Utah was 2-for-4 on the man advantage.
The Thunder returns home Tuesday night to host the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:05 p.m.
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