Bryan Moore may not be compared to Roy Hobbs, the fictional baseball player in the movie The Natural, but Friday night he certainly looked the part. The Allen American player netted three consecutive third period goals, giving him a natural hat trick in leading his team to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Wichita Thunder. The victory was the Americans’ tenth in a row and extended the Thunder’s skid, giving them 10 losses in their last 11 games.
It was a scoreless first period as Drew Owsley and Jamie Murray fended off the combined 21-shots the two goaltenders faced. In the second, the Thunder would grab the lead.
With Wichita on the power-play, Ryan Rupert found Zach O’Brien who scored his first goal since joining the Thunder. That gave the team a 1-0 lead at the 5:10 mark of the second.
A little over seven minutes later, the Allen Americans would tie the score. A turnover gave the Americans the puck and Zach Hall made them pay, beating Owsley for his sixth goal of the season.
Less than five minutes later the Wichita Thunder would retake the lead. Once again, the team was able to take advantage of a power-play opportunity. The puck took a crazy bounce coming out of the corner and landed right on the stick of Rupert in front of the net. He buried it for his first goal since becoming a Thunder player and it was 2-1.
That would be the score heading into the second break, but the third period would be dominated by the Americans. At the 3:17 mark, Bryan Moore would tie the game. With Allen on the power-play, Eric Roy skated into the slot area and fired a wrist shot. Moore tipped the puck just under the crossbar for his 12th goal of the season and the score was tied.
About two and a half minutes later it would Moore again. This time Costello fired a shot that the Thunder goalie stopped, but Moore put it right back in to give the Americans their first lead of the game. Less than a minute he would add his 14th goal of the season, and third straight goal of the contest to make it 4-2, putting back another rebound opportunity. That also came on the power-play.
Matt DeBlouw would make it a one-goal game again, when he scored on the power-play with a little more than five minutes left in the game. Vincent Arseneau’s shot was saved, but DeBlouw put back in the rebound for his fifth goal of the season and third in his last four games.
Trailing by just one the Thunder pulled Owsley looking for the equalizer. They had several good scoring chances, but Murray stood tall, making a couple of great saves to keep the puck out of the net. With a little less than a minute left in the contest, Arseneau wristed the puck into the Allen end, but Josh Brittain gained control and passed it to Joel Chouinard. He scored the empty-netter to seal the victory and the Allen Americans won 5-3.
Bryan Moore finished with 3-goals. Chad Costello and Eric Roy each had 2-assists for the Americans. Zach Hall had a goal and an assist for the victors. Ryan Rupert had a goal and an assist for the Wichita Thunder.
The Thunder brave the icy roads to return home for Saturday night’s contest against the Missouri Mavericks. The puck drops at 8:05. Note: The road conditions may force a postponement of the game.
By Robert Pannier