WICHITA, Kan. (June 8) – Anthony Nellis scored with 25 seconds left and Fort Wayne held off Wichita in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, 3-2, on Tuesday night at the Wichita Ice Center.
Gordie Green and Ryan White scored for the Thunder. Evan Buitenhuis took the loss, stopping 29 shots he faced.
The first period was an even battle between the two teams with both firing 12 shots on net. Wichita had the first two power play chances, but couldn't solve Dylan Ferguson.
In the second, Green scored at 9:05 as he fired home a one-timer from Alex Peters for his first playoff goal of his career. Nellis tied the game at 17:30 as he caught a pass from Marc-Olivier Roy in front of Buitenhuis and beat him over the blocker.
White gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead at 7:15 of the third as he took a pass from Beau Starrett and scored from the left post. At 10:22, Randy Gazzola scored a controversial goal that tied it at two. As he was skating up the left side, Buitenhuis was interfered with at the right post. Gazzola skated through the traffic and tucked in a wrist shot. Nellis scored his second of the game at 19:35 that would be the eventual game-winner.
Wichita pulled Buitenhuis and had one last offensive-zone face-off. Bobby McMann came across the crease with a chance to tie it, but was knocked down near the far post and the Komets held on for the 3-2 victory.
Wichita hosts Fort Wayne in Game 2 tomorrow night at the Wichita Ice Center starting at 7:05 p.m.
The first round games will take place at the Wichita Ice Center and are $20 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Thunder office, by calling (316) 264-4625 or online HERE.
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