WICHITA, KS – Good offensively, bad defensively. That was the storyline in Saturday night’s clash between the Wichita Thunder and Allen Americans at INTRUST Bank Arena.
It didn’t take the Americans long to get on the scoreboard. A shot by Joel Chouinard bounced off the hand of Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin and as he went to catch it, the puck bounced off the palm of his glove and went to Vincent Arseneau, who fired the shot past Shane Starrett to give Allen a 1-0 lead just 2:40 into the contest. For Arseneau, it is his fourth goal in his last four games.
Allen would double the lead when Miles Liberati scored his second goal of the season at the 8:54 mark of the first period. The Thunder thought the Americans cheated on the face-off and didn’t react to the play quickly enough. By the time they did, Zach Hall had found Liberati who one-timed the shot by Starrett.
“Nobody moved,” said Malcolm Cameron of the second Allen goal. “We lose the draw clean, nobody goes out to the point, it’s a clean win.”
The Thunder would get on the board at the 16:20 mark of the first, when Dyson Stevenson roofed a shot over Stephon Williams to narrow the lead to 2-1. It would be the first of two power-play goals on the evening for Wichita.
Allen regained their two-goal lead when Mathieu Aubin caught Wichita in an atrocious line change and beat Starrett just 66 seconds into the period to give Allen a 3-1 lead.
“They have full possession of the puck on transition in front of our bench and four guys changed, with a long change in the second period…gave up essentially a 4-on-1,” Cameron said. “It’s a cardinal sin in hockey to do that. One defenseman, one forward always stays and the puck has to get in before anybody changes. you don’t change when they have the puck.”
From there, it appeared the Thunder controlled play the rest of the way. The Thunder scored their second power-play goal of the night with just over six minutes left in the second but could get no closer. Travis Ewanyk thought he had knotted the game at three near the end of the second period, but Stephon Williams brought the puck back into the blue paint from the goal and covered it up in the crease.
The Thunder had a pair of powerplays and a chance to tie the game but were unable to find the equalizer.
Wichita falls at home for the second time this season to the Americans and sees their five-game unbeaten streak come to an end. It is also the first time this season the Thunder has lost back-to-back games. The same two teams will meet at 4:05 this afternoon at INTRUST Bank Arena.
NOTES….Chad Butcher collected his first ECHL assist on Jeremy Beaudry‘s second period power-play goal…Wichita recorded its third game with two or more power-play goals…Newly acquired forward Ralph Cuddemi arrived in Wichita Saturday evening and will make his debut this afternoon.