Clarke Completes Thunder Comeback with OT Game-Winner, 4-3
The Wichita Thunder battled back from a two-goal deficit on Friday evening with two goals in the second period, forcing overtime. That is where Cam Clarke scored the game-winner with 55 seconds left in the extra session giving Wichita their sixth win in the last eight games. Jay Dickman had two goals for the Thunder and Anthony Beauregard added three assists. The victory moved Wichita to within six points of Allen for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Wichita took the lead just 59 seconds into the contest. Stefan Fournier fired a shot that Allen netminder Jake Paterson saved, but Dickman put back in the rebound for his third goal of the season.
That seemed to be a wake-up call for the Americans as the team reeled off three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The first came at 12:01 when Spencer Asuchak redirected a shot by Matt Register past Evan Weninger for his third tally of the year.
A little over three minutes later, Conner Bleackley gave his team the lead. Corey Mackin fired a shot that was knocked down in front, but it came right to Bleackley who blasted it in for his fourth goal of the season.
At 17:29, the Americans extended their lead to two. A terrible giveaway by Wichita gave Dyson Stevenson the puck. He fired a shot that Weninger saved, but Stevenson was able to collect his own rebound. He dished the puck back to Register at the point, who fired a shot that Zane Franklin redirected to the far corner of the net for his third goal of the year.
In the span of a little more than five minutes the entire complexity of the game had changed. However, Wichita came out of the first break fired up, dominating play in the second and that enabled them to tie the score.
At 8:39, Dan Stewart passed the puck to Dickman who swept across the net, firing the backhander over Paterson’s shoulder to make it 3-2. Four minutes later, Matteo Gennaro scored his team leading ninth goal of the year to tie the score.
The game remained tied through regulation. Turner Ottenbreit had an opportunity to win it for Allen early in the extra session when he had a wide open net on a rebound opportunity, but Weninger quickly moved over to smother the attempt and deny the second rebound.
That set up the game winner. Clarke carried the puck into the Allen end on a 2-on-1. He looked to pass it across the Gordie Green who was crashing the net, but the puck hit off an Americans defender and in with the game-winner. For Clarke, it was his second goal of the year.
Green was initially credited with the goal, but Clarke earned the tally giving him a goal and two assists. Weninger stopped 29 of 32 shots.
These two teams move to Wichita for Saturday night’s contest. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier