WICHITA, KS – After being stymied in the two games prior, the Thunder offense exploded for five goals in the second period Sunday afternoon, beating the Allen Americans by the score of 6-4.
With Kyle Platzer and Zach O’Brien, the catalysts for the Thunder offense in the first month of the season gone, the door was opened for a pair of rookies to take over the offensive load for the club. Enter Lane Bauer and Steven Iacobellis. The rookie duo combined for four goals and an assist on the afternoon.
Iacobellis scored his first professional goal 15:40 into the first period, on a bit of a broken play. Allen goalie Stephon Williams made the initial save, but then the puck came to Iacobellis, who was tied up with an Allen defender and the into the net.
Lane Bauer would double the Thunder lead 4:02 into the second period, beating Williams over his right shoulder, with assists on the goal going to Greg Chase and Chad Butcher.
Entering the contest, Allen had only scored two power-play goals, but by day’s end, would double that total. The first goal coming at 4:17 of the middle stanza, when David Makowski fired a slapshot that beat Joel Rumpel low blocker to narrow the lead to one. Colby McAuley scored his first professional goal two minutes later — on the power-play — to tie the game at two.
Wichita scored the next three to hop out to a 5-2 lead. Bauer netted his second of the contest at 7:56 that gave the Thunder the lead for good at 3-2. The Americans appeared to tie the game at three when a pass from Spencer Asuchak to Mathieu Aubin was redirected in the net. The official ruled that he kicked the puck in and the goal was waived off.
The Thunder took advantage right after that and Mark MacMillan scored at 12:28 to make it 4-2. Chase made it 5-2 at 13:44 as Butcher centered a pass from behind the goal line and he roofed it over Williams. That would be it for Williams as he was pulled and Jeremy Brodeur came in.
Peter MacArthur cut the lead to 5-3, tipping home a shot from the blueline on the power play for his fourth of the season. Iacobellis gave the Thunder a three-goal lead as his shot bounced through the crease and got past Brodeur for a 6-4 advantage.
Joel Chouinard cut the lead to 6-4 at 14:17 of the third period on the man advantage.
“I thought we had a tremendous third period,” Malcolm Cameron said. “We were all over the puck until we gave up the 6-on-4 goal. We were all over it. I thought, structurally, we gave them no chances. None off the rush, none in our zone.”
With some demons in the closet when it comes to closing out home games with a big lead (see Utah on Nov 5,) Cameron said he thought some lessons were learned by his hockey club.
“We didn’t change one iota with how we played. We played smart,” Cameron said.
With the win, the Thunder earned a split in the weekend set with Allen & in the season series. The teams will not see each other until after Christmas, when the teams play four straight times between then and New Year’s. The win also means the Thunder remain a top the Mountain division and second overall in the ECHL’s western conference heading into Thanksgiving week.
The Thunder opens a four-game week Wednesday night against the Kansas City Mavericks, followed by a pair against the Quad City Mallards and a home game with the Kalamazoo Wings.