The Wichita Thunder travelled to Moline, Illinois to take on the Quad City Mallards on Friday night, looking to get back in the win column after a 3-2 OT loss to Kansas City the night before Thanksgiving. Thanks to Mark MacMillan and his two goals, including the winner in overtime, the Thunder came away with a 3-2 victory. The OT winner was the first time that Wichita led in the game.
After Wichita goalie Joel Rumpel stopped the first 10 shots he faced, Josh MacDonald was finally able to get one past the Thunder netminder at the 13:43 mark. That was his fourth goal of the season.
C.J. Motte had been brilliant through the first 19 minutes of the game, but Wichita was finally able to tie the score when Mark MacMillan scored with 23 seconds left in the period. Samuel Thibault’s shot was saved by Motte, but MacMillan corralled the rebound and put it in for his ninth goal of the year.
In the second, Quad City would retake the lead a little less than six minutes into the frame. While on the power-play, MacDonald fired a shot that Alexander Kuqali tipped past Rumpel and into the net to make it 2-1. It was the first goal of the season for Kuqali. That was the first power-play goal that the Thunder had allowed on the road this season.
The lead held for about eight minutes before Wichita would tie it. Dyson Stevenson made a great pass to Istvan Sofron, who fired a one-timer in for his third goal of the season. That tied the score at 2.
Neither team was able to get the puck into the net in the third, but it was Rumpel who was unbelievable all night, including stopping breakaway opportunities in the first and third periods. The Thunder goalie stopped 34 shots through regulation, sending it into overtime.
Just 37 seconds into the extra session MacMillan would win the game. The Thunder entered the zone on a 2-on-2 rush. MacMillan continued with the puck, swooping in front of the goal and putting the backhand between the pads of Motte for his 10th goal of the season.
The victory moved the Wichita Thunder to 12-2-2, tied for second in the ECHL with 26 points. The Thunder are 3-2 in overtime this season.
Mark MacMillan finished with 2 goals. Samuel Thibault had a 2 assists for Wichita and Istvan Sofron had a goal and an assist. Joel Rumpel made 34 saves for this sixth win of the year. Josh MacDonald had a goal and an assist for Quad City.
The Thunder head back home to take on the Mallards on Saturday night. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier