Allen, TX (March 18th) - Grant Rollheiser claimed his first shutout in a Thunder uniform; Danick Gauthier and Justin Bernhardt had three points apiece and the Thunder (30-23-2-6) skated away with a 4-0 victory over Allen (39-14-5-3) on Wednesday night at the Allen Event Center. Wichita sets a new single-season shutout mark with its fifth of the year behind a 34-save performance from Rollheiser. The Thunder improves to 7-6-0-1 against Allen and moves into a third place tie with 68 points.
Wichita has had a knack of scoring early goals on the road at Allen and that trend continued in the first period. Justin Bernhardt fired home a rebound from Gauthier shot and beat J.P. Anderson to make it 1-0 at 1:02. The Thunder had a five-on-three power play with Tyler Barr and Greger Hanson in the box, but failed to add to the lead. Wichita has scored three goals in the first minute against Allen this season, one at 1:02 into the game (which happened tonight) and another just 2:50 into the first at the Allen Event Center.
In the second, the Thunder found the net three times to jump out to a 4-0 advantage. At 1:37, Nikita Kashirsky got to a long rebound that clipped the glove of Anderson to him in the slot and fired it past him to make it 2-0. Gauthier recorded his 27th of the season at 3:07, putting a Bernhardt centering pass over Anderson to increase the lead to 3-0. At 17:30, Bernhardt scored his second of the contest and 11th of the year to finish the scoring at 4-0.
Early in the third, Allen was about to go on a power play when Erick Lizon caught Gary Steffes in the face behind the Thunder net. Head Coach Steve Martinson was trying to get the attention of the official to look at Steffes to see if he was bleeding. The referee wouldn't head to the bench and eventually would kick Martinson out of the game. Garrett Clarke was sent to the box to nullify an Americans' man advantage. Both teams had 10 shots in the third, but the score would remain 4-0 as time expired.
The Thunder had five guys finish with a +3 and an overall +20 on the night while Allen was a -20 combined. Justin Bernhardt has six goals against the Americans this year and his second three-point performance (2g, 1a) against Allen. Gauthier finished with a goal and two assists, giving him three points in two-straight contests against the Americans this week. Rollheiser earns his third shutout of the season and his seventh in his career. Anderson suffers the loss, giving up four goals on 23 shots.
Wichita was 0-for-2 on the man advantage. Allen went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Wichita returns home on Friday to face Allen starting at 7:05 p.m. Friday is Youth Jersey Night, presented by Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The first 1,000 kids 12 and under through the door will receive this special giveaway. Friday is also the second edition of Wiener Dog Nationals and Scout Night.
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.