It isn’t often you see a 6-5 score in a hockey game, but the Wichita Thunder had played two in a row entering Sunday night’s game. Make it three, after the Tulsa Oilers would come back for the second straight night to defeat the Thunder, 6-5, this time on an overtime goal by Alex Dostie. For Dostie, it was his third goal in the two games in Wichita.
The Wichita Thunder would jump out on the attack 33 seconds into the game. Nolan De Jong’s shot was saved, but Stefan Fournier was right at the goal post. He tried to put the rebound back in, but could not get it past Ian Keserich. Fournier alertly took the puck around the back of the net to the other side, where he shot the wraparound attempt over the pad of the Tulsa goaltender and in to make it 1-0. That was the 14th goal of the year for Fournier.
Two minutes later, the Oilers nearly tied the score. Charlie Sampair’s shot was deflected in front right to Ryan Tesink. He had a wide-open net to the left side of the goal, but Stuart Skinner was able to slide over quickly to make a great blocker save on the rising shot.
With 2:26 left in the first, Mark MacMillan would extend the lead to two with a power-play goal. Jason Salvaggio passed the puck to Jakob Stukel at the point, who moved down the left boards, drawing a defender. That left MacMillan all alone about 15 feet from the net. Stukel made a great pass across the crease to MacMillan who fired a wrist shot in for his 17th goal of the year.
The Oilers trailed 2-0 heading into the second period, but would use a power-play opportunity to cut the deficit in half. Just 57 seconds in the frame, Stephen Perfetto blasted a shot that Skinner made a fine kick save on, but the rebound came right to Steven Kaunisto, who blasted the rebound back in for his eighth goal of the year.
Less than three minutes later the Thunder would restore their two goal lead. MacMillan’s shot was saved, but the rebound came to Stukel. He moved back but lost his footing. However, from his knees he fired a shot that went over Keserich’s glove to make it 3-1. The highlight goal was his 18th of the year.
At the 6:24 mark, the Tulsa Oilers would get back on board. Kaunisto fired a shot from the point that Skinner saved off his chest, but the rebound fell right below him. Adam Pleskach wristed the close rebound over Skinner just under the crossbar for his 35th goal and second in as many nights.
With five minutes left in the period, the Wichita Thunder would take a penalty for too many men on the ice. Seconds later, Tulsa would take advantage of the power-play opportunity. The draw would be won back to Terrance Amorosa who passed it across to Chris Forney. He made a quick pass to Perfetto, who blasted in the shot for his sixth goal of the season, and third in two nights.
Two minutes later the Wichita Thunder would be on the power-play and they would score seconds into their man advantage. MacMillan would move in from the right of Keserich, driving toward the net. His shot was saved, but the rebound was free and Stukel would shovel it in for his second goal of the game and third in the last two contests.
The flurry of goals continued with Tulsa tying the score with just 20.8 seconds left in the second. The Oilers had an extra attacker on the ice during a delayed penalty call. Perfetto received a pass along the left boards, then fired a perfect pass across the crease to Ryan Tesink who was just inside the right faceoff circle. He blasted a one-timer in for his 25th goal of the season to make it 4-4.
The Wichita Thunder had allowed the Oilers to creep back into the game, but they would retake the lead at 4:32 of the third period. MacMillan would steal the puck at the Tulsa blueline, firing a long wrist shot that beat Devin Williams. It was his second goal of the game.
The lead lasted just 26 seconds, however. Ammirato netted his 10th goal of the year to tie the score, setting up the dramatic finish.
Neither team was able to add to their score in regulation, sending the game to overtime. The Thunder nearly won the contest, when a shot from the point went just wide, but rolled right in front of the net. However, no Wichita player was able to gain control, but the Tulsa Oilers would. Alex Dostie corralled the puck and went the other direction on a 2-on-1 with Eric Drapluk. As he crossed the blueline he passed the puck to Drapluk, luring the Thunder defenseman that way. Drapluk then sent the puck back, sending Dostie in on a breakaway where he would beat Skinner between the legs for his third goal of the season. The game-winner made it 6-5 Tulsa.
Mark MacMillan had 2 goals and 2 assists for the Wichita Thunder. Nolan De Jong had 3 assists and Jakob Stukel had 2 goals and an assist. For Tulsa, both Stephen Perfetto and Steven Kaunisto had a goal and 2 assists.
The Wichita Thunder will next play on Wednesday night when they host the Utah Grizzlies. Game time is set for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier