Green, Gennaro Lead Thunder in Rout of Americans, 7-2
The Wichita Thunder started their fireworks show early on New Year’s Eve, scoring three goals in both the first and second periods in a 7-2 rout of the Allen Americans. Gordie Green and Matteo Gennaro each recorded three points and the Thunder added a power-play and a short-handed goal. Mitch Gilliam recorded his third win of the season.
Wichita took command of this game right away as Green scored 1:50 into the contest, one of three first period goals scored by the Thunder. Green carried the puck into the Allen end, moving on net. As he reached the corner of the net, he passed it to Gennaro who redirected the puck on goal, but Zach Sawchenko was able to cut across and make a nice pad save. The puck moved behind the net, where Green scooped it up. He moved in front and fired a wrist shot to the far post that caught the corner of the net for his second goal of the year.
A little over two minutes later the Thunder were back on the board. Jeremy McKenna knocked the puck into the Americans end. The Allen defenseman tried to clear it but Mathieu Gagnon knocked it down along the boards. McKenna swooped in and corralled the puck, then fired a wrist shot from just above the faceoff circle that beat Sawchenko for his first goal of the year.
At 14:36, the lead became three. With the Thunder short-handed, Green moved into the Allen end and was moving across the high slot when he was leveled. However, the puck came right to Gennaro, who gained control of the puck, then moved across the crease before beating the Allen goalie up high for his second goal of the year.
A little less than a minute later the Americans were finally able to get on the board. Allen was still on the power-play when the puck came back to Corey Mackin at the point. He moved in to about 15 feet from the net, then fired a wrist shot that beat Gilliam for his second goal of the year.
It has been a wild first period that saw Wichita outshoot Allen 17-16. More importantly, they had a two-goal lead which they would extend 1:34 into the second. It was a beautiful play that opened the door. Anthony Beauregard gained control of the puck in the corner behind the Americans net. He fired it along the boards to Jay Dickman, who made a quick pass out to Peter Crinella in front. Crinella redirected the puck into the net for his first goal of the year.
The three-goal advantage lasted exactly 22-seconds. Gilliam tried to clear the puck from his end, firing it high along the glass, but Les Lancaster was able to knock it down. He fired it on goal where Joseph Garreffa was alone in front of the net. He corralled the puck, firing it on Gilliam, who made the initial save, but the puck came right back to Garreffa who beat Gilliam over the shoulder with the rebound for his third goal of the year.
The Americans were back within two, but it would be all Wichita from there. At the 11:14 mark and Wichita on the power-play, McKenna restored the three-goal lead with his second goal of the game. With the faceoff in the Americans end, Beauregard won the draw back to Noel Hoefenmayer, who swung it along the blueline to McKenna. He blasted a one-timer that beat Sawchenko to make it 5-2 Thunder lead.
Four minutes later, the lead became four. Spencer Dorowicz moved in on the Allen goal, then made a perfect pass across the slot to Green, who redirected the puck in for his second goal of the game. That made it 6-2, which would be the score heading to the second break.
The Thunder scored their seventh goal of the game at the 1:10, scoring in the first two minutes of a period for the third time in the contest. Bobby McMann passed the puck to Gennaro who blasted the one-timer in for his second goal of the game.
Gennaro and Green each finished with two goals and an assist. McKenna also had two goals for Wichita. The Thunder got two assists each from Beauregard, Gagnon, and McMann. Gilliam stopped 38 of the 40 shots he faced.
The Thunder (3-0-0) finally head home to make their INTRUST Arena debut, hosting a rematch with the Americans. Game time is set for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier