Allen, TX (Feb. 18th) - Wichita and Allen have had a knack of playing past regulation lately. On Wednesday night, that trend continued as the Thunder (24-18-2-5) recovered from losing a two-goal lead late to win 6-5 in a shootout over the Americans (34-9-3-3) at the Allen Event Center. It was the third straight-game between the two teams that ended up going past 60 minutes. Wichita remains unbeaten at the AEC in games that have gone into overtime or a shootout, now 3-0 and improve to 5-5-0-1 in the season-series.
Danick Gauthier, Ian Duval and Justin Bernhardt finished with two points a-piece. Tim Boron improved to 18-8-2-3 in his 33rd appearance between the pipes.
Ian Duval made an impact in his return to the line-up, scoring three minutes into the game and his eighth of the season. Gary Steffes tied the contest at 7:07 on the power play with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle over the shoulder of Tim Boron. Wichita re-gained the lead at 12:26 when Kirill Tulupov fired it towards Riley Gill, who couldn't handle the shot that got past him over the line to make it 2-1.
In the second, the two teams continued the revolving door into the penalty box as they combined for 11 power plays through the first 40 minutes. Justin Baker tied the game at 2:36 as he tipped home a centering feed from Greger Hanson for his eighth of the season. Allen took its first lead at 12:53 with a goal from Chad Costello with assists to Kyle Follmer and Garrett Clarke. With Patrik Valcak in the box for hooking, Wichita took advantage as Bernhardt found the net with a one-timer at 17:43 and tied the game.
Wichita had two separate five-on-three opportunities in the third and finally broke through on the second one. Gauthier fired a shot from slot at 7:56 that gave Wichita a 4-3 lead. At 10:21, Duval recorded his second goal of the game. He used his speed to get to a loose puck and beat Gill to give the Thunder a 5-3 advantage. The Americans rallied for the second-straight game, down by two in the final period. At 11:40, Greger Hanson recorded his 17th of the season from the right circle to cut the lead to one. The Americans pulled Gill for the extra attacker and tied the game with just one second remaining as Steffes found the net for his second of the contest and 33rd of the season.
After a scoreless overtime that saw the Americans go on a power play, the game headed into a shootout. Both teams went scoreless in the first three rounds as Bernhardt, Nikita Kashirsky and Ian Lowe were stopped for the Thunder. Boron stopped Schaafsma, Steffes and Costello. Gauthier recorded his first shootout goal of the season in the bottom of round four to make it 1-0. Hanson tied it at the top of round five with a highlight reel backhand goal. After Duval and Tyler Ludwig were both stopped, Todd Hosmer scored in the bottom of round seven and claimed the victory for the Thunder by the final score of 6-5.
Wichita has appeared in five shootouts that have gone past seven rounds including the last two games against Allen. The Thunder improve to 3-5 in shootout situations and 4-1 against Allen in games decided past 60 minutes. Gauthier collected his 14th multi-point game of the season, recording a goal and an assist. Bernhardt finished with a goal and an assist, extending his point-streak to five games (6g, 4a). Duval recorded his first multi-goal game of the year. Boron improved to .500 in shootouts, stopping 25 of 29 shots. Gill took the loos, stopping 32 of 37 shots he faced.
Wichita went 2-for-9 on the man advantage and has scored a power play goal in three-straight. Allen went 1-for-7 on the power play.
Wichita returns home for five-straight games beginning this Friday as the Rapid City Rush come to town, 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.