ALLEN, TX (Dec. 30) – Wichita battled back from a four-goal deficit and had a late major power play on Friday night, but fell short in a 5-3 loss to Allen at Credit Union of Texas Event Center.
In another physical meeting between the longtime rivals, the Thunder and Americans combined for five power play goals, one shorthanded marker and 62 penalty minutes.
Allen raced out to a 4-0 lead as four different players found the net. Jackson Leppard made it 1-0 at 3:48 of the first as he found a rebound near the right post. The goal was reviewed for potential interference on Zachary Emond, but it was allowed to stand.
With a minute to go in the opening frame, Jack Combs made it 2-0 with a backhand at the top of the crease for his 16th of the season.
The Americans added two more in the second. Ryan Gagnon made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal at 1:44. Wichita turned the puck over in the neutral zone near the Allen blueline. The Americans came the other way with an odd-man chance and Gagnon found the net for his third of the year.
Aiden Brown got into the act at 5:17. He potted home a blooper from the slot. His initial shot was deflected up in the air and it found its way over Emond to make it 4-0.
Sam Sternschein put Wichita on the board at 15:44 on the man advantage as he recorded his first of the season. He fired home a shot from the right circle and beat Mandolese for his first in Thunder blue.
Billy Constantinou cut the lead to 4-2 early in third. Wichita opened the frame on the five-on-three. He came down the left wing and beat Kevin Mandolese from a sharp angle for his second of the year.
Hank Crone tallied his 14th of the year at 15:09 on the power play . He walked off the goal line and beat Emond upstairs to make it 5-2.
During an altercation near the Allen bench, Wichita received a late five-minute power play when Mikael Robidoux blasted Michal Stinil from behind. Both players were kicked out of the game.
Jay Dickman scored at 17:32 to cut the lead to 5-3. He took a pass from Brayden Watts and fired it home for his sixth of the year.
Emond was lifted for the extra attacker, but the Americans held on for the win.
With the loss, the Thunder winning streak is halted at five games.
Wichita went 3-for-10 on the man advantage, which is a season-high for power play attempts in a game. The Thunder have scored nine power play goals over their last three outings.
Dickman has goals in four-straight and points in his last six. Stinil had a season-high 12 penalty minutes and added two more assists. Watts tallied two helpers and has two points in four of his last five games. Constantinou has goals in back-to-back contests.
The Thunder rings in New Year's Eve at 6:05 p.m. tomorrow night against Allen to finish the three-game mini-series this week.
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