WEST VALLEY, UT – For the second night in a row, the Wichita Thunder and Utah Grizzlies special team units were very busy.
Friday night’s contest was dominated by special teams and that trend continued as the two teams combined for 14 power plays.
Thunder forward Kenton Miller opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal late in the first period. He hustled to a loose puck in the Grizzlies zone, got around a defender near the goal line and beat Matt Hackett for his eighth of the season.
Utah tied the game midway through the second with a goal from Jon Puskar, tallying his sixth of the year. On Wichita’s sixth power play chance, Landon Oslanski fired a one-timer from the blue line that beat Hackett and the Thunder re-gained the lead, up 2-1. Charles Sarault tied the game less than three minutes later with a slap shot from the blue line that got through Grant Rollheiser.
In the third, the two teams combined for 19 shots on net in the frame as the final horn sounded and overtime was needed to decide a winner.
The Grizzlies scored two minutes into the extra session when Marc Cantin walked off the wall and let a shot go that Almeida tipped past Rollheiser to the glove side for the game-winner.
Each team played down a man in this game, Erick Lizon was suspended indefinitely for delivering a sucker punch to Utah’s Shayne Taker, who also did not play.
Miller and Oslanski each had a goal for the Thunder, while Eric Springer had a pair of assists.
After a dismal start on the power play this season, Wichita has scored a power play goal in six-straight games. Wichita went 1-for-7 on the power play. Utah was 0-for-7 on the man advantage.
Rollheiser takes the overtime loss, stopping 35 of 38 shots. Hackett claims his first-ever ECHL win, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced.
The teams will meet for the final time this season on Monday afternoon at 2:35pm CT.