Busch Leads Heartlanders Comeback Overtime Win
CORALVILLE, IA – The Iowa Heartlanders found themselves trailing by two with seven minutes left on Friday, but scored two goals in five minutes to force overtime before Tyler Busch scored in the extra session to give the Heartlanders a 3-2 come from behind victory over the Wichita. Nolan Orzeck had two assists in the contest and Hutner Jones stopped 23 shots. Roman Basaran was outstanding for Wichita, stopping 36 shots and Michal Stinil scored for the second straight game.
Wichita scored the only goal of the first period as Jake Wahlin netted his 12th goal of the year 6:21 into the contest. Mark Liwiski passed the puck to Wahlin who sped through the neutral zone and into the Heartlanders end. As he approached Jones it looked like he was going to make a pass, but opted to shoot instead, lifting a laser over the shoulder of Jones to make it 1-0.
Neither team scored in the second, but Basran made two outstanding saves early in the frame, including stopping a point blank attempt by Zach White.
This was a very tense contest, but Stinil looked like he had sealed the victory when he scored at the 11:48 mark of the third. Quinn Preston set up the goal, making a perfect pass out of the Thunder end right onto the stick of Stinil before he crossed the blueline. Stinil moved in on Jones on a breakaway, sweeping across the crease before tucking the puck between the legs of Jones for his 27th goal of the year.
The Thunder looked in complete control, but Iowa finally got on the board at 13:18 when Kevin McKernan scored his fourth goal of the year. Carson Denomie had the puck along the half boards inside the Wichita zone. He took a shot toward the net that McKernan tipped between the legs of Basran to cut the Iowa deficit in half.
With 1:15 left in the game and Jones on the bench for the extra attacker, Orzeck passed the puck down low to Clayton Phillips at the side of the net. He dished it across the slot to Tommy Parrottino, who redirected the puck in for his 18th goal of the season.
That sent the game to overtime, where the Heartlanders dominated, controlling much of the play. At the 2:16 mark, Orzeck broke-up a 2-on-1 at his own blueline, sending the puck toward the Wichita zone. Gavin Gould dove for the puck, trying to knock it a way to prevent a 2-on-1 the other direction, but missed giving Busch a breakaway opportunity. He swept in on Basran, lifting a backhander over the Thunder netminder for his 15th tally of the year.
Brayden Watts had an assist for Wichita and his return from injured reserve.
The Wichita Thunder (29-28-6) will take on the Iowa Heartlanders (17-32-14) again on Saturday. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier