This season it has seemed that the last-minute goal has always been against the Wichita Thunder even against the Missouri Mavericks. Nearly two months ago, a late goal in Missouri sent the two teams into overtime, where the Mavericks won, and it looked like this game would be the fifth straight OT affair in Independence. However, Matt DeBlouw netted his 14th goal of the season with just 25-seconds and the Wichita Thunder prevailed, 5-3.
Randy Cure would put the Thunder on top in the first when he scored at the 11:19 mark. Jeremy Beaudry passed to Cure, who fired a wrist shot that Josh Robinson seemed to misplay. The goal was the defenseman’s second since joining Wichita, and the first period would end with the Thunder up 1-0.
A little over one-minute into the second, Wichita extended their lead to two. Zach O’Brien passed to Ryan Rupert, who blasted a one-timer in for his ninth goal of the year.
A little over a minute later the Mavericks responded. Matt Robertson passed to Conner Bleackley, who beat Scott Greenham for his sixth goal of the season. That made it 2-1.
At the 7:07 mark, the Wichita Thunder extended their lead back to two. Ryan Tesink picked up the puck in his own end, and gained a burst of speed through the neutral zone. He then put a wrist shot by Robinson and it was 3-1. The coast-to-coast goal was Tesink’s seventh of the year.
Six minutes later Missouri cut the Thunder lead back to one. With the Thunder on the power-play, Dane Fox led a break out of the Mavericks end, and Radaslov Illo scored the short-handed goal to make it 3-2. That was his 11th goal of the year, and the 40th assist of the year for Fox.
The game went to the third with the Thunder clinging to a one-goal lead but Missouri would tie it a little over four minutes into the period. Dan Correale passed to Jesse Graham on the power-play, and he fired a wrist shot that found its way through traffic and into the net. That was Graham’s sixth goal of the season.
From there the game was quite intense. The Mavericks had outshot the Thunder through the first two periods 28-20, and were narrowly leading in shots, 11-9, in the third with about a minute left. With 25-seconds left in the game, Blake Tatchell fed the puck to Matt DeBlouw. He moved across the slot area looking like he would go to the back-hander, but switched to his forehand at the last moment and beat Robinson over the shoulder.
With one-second left in the game, Ian Lowe added an empty-netter for his ninth goal of the year. That sealed the victory, but on the goal, Lowe was tripped up and that sparked an on-ice brawl that led to 12 misconduct penalties.
The victory gave the Wichita Thunder the victory in the season-series with the Missouri Mavericks, 6-4-4. Scott Greenham saved 36 of 39 shots for the victory. Jeremy Beaudry added 2-assists for the Thunder. Dane Fox has 2-assists for the Mavericks. Jesse Graham had a goal and an assist.
The Wichita Thunder’s next game is Tuesday at home against the Tulsa Oilers. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier