Ian Lowe’s Milestone Can’t Stop Thunder Skid; Eagles Win 3-2
It was a big night for Wichita Thunder team captain Ian Lowe, who played in his 300th game in a Thunder uniform and notched his 200th career point, however Luke Salazar continues to be a nemesis for Wichita, leading the Colorado Eagles to a 3-2 victory. The victory extended the Eagles win streak to nine and the Thunder’s losing streak to nine.
As in the previous four times these two teams have played each other, the Colorado Eagles got on the board first. At the 3:51 mark the Thunder were short-handed when Jake Marto got the puck at the blue line, he skated in before firing a pass to Salazar who one-timed a slap shot by Wichita goalie Drew Owsley for his 18th goal of the season.
About two minutes later it looked like the Eagles would get on the board again when they entered the Thunder zone on a 2-on-1 break. However, Owsley made a brilliant kick save on Matt Garbowsky that kept it a one-goal game.
That proved to be huge when Ian Lowe scored at the 10:11 mark of the first period to tie the score. With Wichita on the power-play, Landon Oslanski swung the puck across the blue line to Macoy Erkamps who fired a shot on net. The puck deflected off Lowe and into the goal for his fifth goal of the year. That was his 200th career point as a Thunder player, moving him into sole possession of sixth place on the team’s all-time scoring list.
The first period would end tied, but the Eagles would retake the lead in the second and not relinquish it. At the 13:28 mark, Salazar passed to Shawn St. Amant in front of the net. His first shot was saved, but he put the rebound back in to make it 2-1.
With a little less than a minute left in the second, Wichita found itself killing off a 5-on-3 power-play. Matt Register fired a shot from the point, but the rebound went right to Alex Belzile, who was standing alone at the side of the goal. He put the puck back and in to extend the lead to two.
In the third, the Thunder would cut the deficit back to one. With the Eagles looking to clear their end, Matt DeBlouw poke checked the puck away from the defender. Louick Marcotte was able to push the puck back toward the Colorado goal, where DeBlouw corralled it, moved the puck to his back-hand and put it over Lukas Hafner’s shoulder to make it 3-2.
That would be as close as Wichita would get. Grabowsky added an empty-net goal with four seconds left in the contest and the Thunder would fall 4-2, tying their season long for a losing streak at nine.
Drew Owsley played exceptionally well for the Thunder, stopping 25-shots. For Colorado, Lukas Hafner made 37-saves to move to 4-0-2 on the year. Luke Salazar finished with a goal and an assist. Jake Marto had 2-assists.
The Wichita Thunder are off until Wednesday when they will welcome the Rapid City Rush. Game time is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier