Two nights after taking it on the chin against the Allen Americans, the Wichita Thunder brought a storm to Oklahoma, downing the Tulsa Oilers 5-1. Despite the fact of being outshot 40-29, the Thunder were in control of this game for much of the contest as goaltender Drew Owsley made 39 saves to lead his team to the victory. Louick Marcotte led the scoring with 2-goals and Gerrad Grant added a goal and an assist.
The Thunder took the lead 8:23 into the contest. While killing off a penalty, Matt DeBlouw gained control of the puck and passed to Louick Marcotte, who beat Jonah Imoo for his team leading 17th goal of the year. This gave Wichita the lead, a lead they would take to the first break, despite being outshot 14-10.
In the second, the Tulsa Oilers would again put the pressure on and looked like they would get a goal just three minutes into the period. Shawn Bates entered the Thunder end on a breakaway, but Drew Owsley stoned him with a great pad save before covering up to draw the faceoff.
However, two minutes later Tulsa would tie the score. Garrett Ladd continued to lag behind the play, skating along the Wichita blue line. That allowed Christ Joyaux to make the long pass to Ladd, who beat Owsley with the backhander for his 17th goal of the year.
Exactly four minutes later, Blake Tatchell took a page out of Ladd’s book and gave the Thunder back the lead. The Wichita forward remained near the Tulsa blue line and received a long pass from Chris LeBlanc. He went in on a breakaway, and Wichita was about to go on a power-play as Tatchell was slashed as he entered the Oilers end. However, he made a nice move to his backhand and beat Imoo to make it 2-1. That was Tatchell’s 12th goal of the year.
The third period was a tense affair, as the Thunder clung to a one-goal advantage. That is until they scored three times in the final four minutes of the game. The first two of those came when the Oilers had the man advantage.
Gerrad Grant scored the first short-handed goal at the 16:20 mark. He blocked a shot at the blue line, then outskated two Tulsa players for the puck. He went in on Imoo and beat him with a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season.
Just 19 seconds later it would be Jake Bolton that would score with his team down a man. With Imoo pulled for the extra attacker, Bolton cleared the puck from the Wichita end that went into the Oilers goal to make it 4-1. That was Bolton’s second goal of the season.
With 44 seconds left in the contest, Marcotte added his second goal of the game. He would put in another empty-net goal for the final tally in the 5-1 victory.
Drew Owsley saved 39-shots on the night for his ninth win of the season. Gerrad Grant finished with a goal and an assist and Louick Marcotte had 2-goals for the Wichita Thunder.
The Wichita Thunder return home to play their season finale against the Allen Americans on Sunday. The puck drops at 4:05.
By Robert Pannier