KALAMAZOO, MI – For the second time this season, the Wichita Thunder squandered a lead heading into the third period and lost their second straight game, falling to Kalamazoo by the score of 3-2.
The third meeting in three weeks between the two teams got off to a fairly even start, with Joel Martin and Shane Owen stopping a combined 25 shots in the frame. From there, the Wings would outshoot Wichita 29-17, thanks to a Wings forecheck that was suffocating at times.
Kalamazoo’s Tyler Heinonen got the scoring going 95 seconds into the middle frame, when he put a rebound by Owen, who could not close off the post quick enough, and that gave the Wings a 1-0 lead. Over the next few minutes, the Wings would hem the Thunder in their end of the ice, peppering shot after shot on Owen, but he would prevent any further damage from being done on the scoreboard.
One night after being scratched due to illness, Mark MacMillan returned to the lineup and scored his 11th of the season to draw the Thunder even at 1 with 1:48 left in the period. MacMillan had a brilliant individual effort to split two Wings’ defenders and beat Martin over the shoulder on the goal.
Just 56 seconds later, Matt DeBlouw scored his seventh of the year, and fourth in last four games, to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. The play was set up by Evan Polei picking the pocket of defenseman Eric Katellus and firing a shot on Martin, DeBlouw put the rebound in as he blew by Kyle Blaney to put the rebound by the Wings’ netminder.
Wichita’s record heading into the second intermission was 13-1-0.
In the third, Justin Taylor tied the game with a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 9:18. Tyler Biggs potted the eventual game-winner with six minutes left. He fired a wrist shot from the right face-off dot that Owen appeared to stop, but it just trickled over the line. Wichita had the puck in the offensive zone with Owen pulled for a minute, but couldn’t get a shot through on Martin.
Wichita now heads to Colorado for a Wednesday night game against the division-leading Colorado Eagles.