WICHITA, Kan. (Oct. 30) - Wichita jumped out to a four-goal lead, but couldn't hold off a late rally from Wheeling on Saturday night, falling 6-5 at INTRUST Bank Arena.
The Thunder scored a season-high four goals in the first period and led 4-0 through the first 11 minutes of the contest. Wheeling outscored the Thunder 6-1 down the stretch, including four in the third period for the victory.
Peter Crinella put the Thunder on the board at 2:03 of the first. He found a loose puck in the right circle and fired a wrist shot under the blocker arm of Alex D'Orio to make it 1-0. Matteo Gennaro made it 2-0 at 8:40 to increase the lead to 2-0.
During the play, Stephen Johnson took an elbow to the head from Matt Alfaro and he was called for a five-minute major penalty. Wichita took advantage and scored two power play goals to take a 4-0 lead. Crinella added his second of the frame at 9:23 to make it 3-0. Dean Stewart made it 4-0 at 11:04 with a wrist shot from the left circle for his first of the season. Wheeling got on the board at 12:35 as Patrick Watling hammered a one-timer from the right circle.
At 4:32 of the second, Nick Hutchison cut the lead to 4-2. Carter Johnson connected on his first of his career at 12:33 to make it 5-2.
With 1:34 to go in the second, the game was delayed due to ice conditions. Both teams were sent to their respective dressing rooms as the officials would try to make a decision about finishing the game. The arena staff would eventually get the ice fixed and the game would resume after almost an hour delay.
In the third, Wheeling made it 5-3 when Sean Josling scored at 1:45 for his first of two in the period. Justin Almeida made it 5-4 at 7:12. Almeida tied the game at 9:21 after creating a turnover in the Thunder zone and beat Evan Buitenhuis. Wheeling was awarded a four-minute double minor when Brayden Watts was sent to the penalty box for a high stick. Josling tipped in a shot from the blueline to give the Nailers their first lead, 6-5. The Nailers held off the Thunder down the stretch and grabbed the win.
Stewart and Gennaro each finished with a goal and an assist. Crinella had two goals. Dickman recorded three assists and led all Thunder shooters with seven shots on net.
Wichita remains at home next weekend starting on Friday night against rival, Allen.
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