Faced with the very distinct possibility that their season was coming to an end, the Wichita Thunder put together their best all-around performance of the season, getting 29 saves from Shane Starrett and three points from Dyson Stevenson on their way to a 6-0 victory over the Colorado Eagles. That made the series 3-1 in favor of Colorado.
The Thunder took the lead 7:08 into the contest. A turnover gave Wichita the puck in the Colorado end. Dyson Stevenson dropped the puck back to Ryan Van Stralen, who buried a shot past Joe Cannata for his first goal of the playoffs.
With a little less than two minutes left in the second, the Wichita Thunder would finally get their power-play going. Steven Iacobellis passed the puck to Evan Polei, who buried the one timer from the right face-off circle to extend the lead to two. That was the first goal of the playoffs for Polei.
In the second, the Eagles would dominate much of the period, outshooting Wichita by five, but it would be the Thunder who would get on the board, scoring twice in the period. The first came at 2:40. The shot by Samuel Thibault was saved, but Stevenson put in the rebound for his second goal of the playoffs to make it a three goal lead.
A little less than four minutes later, Marc-Olivier Crevier-Moron fired the puck across the blue line to Mark MacMillan who blasted a shot past Cannata to extend the lead to four. That would be it for the Eagles goaltender.
In the final frame, Wichita would score 2 more goals. At 3:03, Brayden Low passed the puck to Etienne Boutet in the slot, who fired a shot past Lukas Hafner for his first goal of the playoffs.
With just 37 seconds left in the game, Travis Brown would score the final goal of the contest. MacMillan’s shot was saved, but Brown put the rebound back in for his second goal of the playoffs and the Wichita Thunder won 6-0.
Shane Starrett was absolutely brilliant in net for Wichita, stopping 29 shots to record his first playoff shutout. After stopping seven shots in the first., he would make 22 saves over the final two frames of the game, allowing the Thunder to live another day.
Dyson Stevenson finished with a goal and 2 assists for Wichita. Mark MacMillan had a goal and an assist and Marc-Olivier Crevier-Moron added 2 assists. There were 13 players on the Thunder roster who had at least one point in the game.
The Wichita Thunder will look to keep this series going, as Game 5 will be tomorrow night in Colorado. The puck drops at 7:05 local time.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier