Parkkonen Delivers Skate-Off Goal, Thunder Win, 4-3
They love the term in baseball. The walk-off hit. The player that delivers the game-winning homerun in the bottom of the ninth or who lines a single up the middle with two down in the 12th to drive home the winning run. It is a dramatic way to end a game. On Tuesday, Patrik Parkkonen delivered the skate-off goal, doing it in the most dramatic of fashions, netting the winning tally with 0.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Wichita Thunder a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks.
The Mavericks got on the board first, scoring just 72 seconds into the contest. Darik Angeli stole the puck deep inside the Wichita end, then passed the puck to Adam Brady who was moving down the slot. Brady fired a quick wrist shot that beat Wichita netminder Evan Weninger over the glove for his first goal of the season.
Each team would net a power play tally in the second period. Wichita scored first, tying the game at 9:53. Anthony Beauregard had the puck along the boards inside the Mavericks end. He passed it to Austin McIlmurray in the high slot, who fired a wrist shot that initially deflected off a Kansas City defenseman’s stick. That changed the trajectory of the puck which fooled Mavericks netminder Matt Ginn, going in for McIlmurray’s second goal of the year.
Kansas City responded with a goal in the final minute of the second period. Brodie Reid had the puck just inside the blue line along the boards in the Thunder end. He passed it across to Marcus Crawford, but the pass was off the mark and looked like it was going to get out of the zone. Crawford raced for it and was able to get his stick on the puck just before it crossed the line. He fired a desperation shot that somehow found its way through several players and in for his second goal of the season.
The Mavericks had outshot Wichita 21-14 through the first two periods, but really put the pressure on in the third, outshooting the Thunder, 17-6. However, it would be the Thunder who would come away with two goals in the period.
The first came at 4:55 when Matteo Gennaro scored his 10th goal of the year. Peter Crinella dished the puck to Gennaro in the neutral zone. He picked up a burst a speed, weaving between two defenders and into the Kansas City zone. Gennaro fended off a poke check moving to his right, then fired a wrist shot that beat Ginn. It was an incredible individual effort. Parkkonen earned his second assist of the game on the play.
At the 10:25 mark, the Mavericks retook the lead. Angeli gained control of the puck in the Thunder end, passing it to Zach Osburn at the right faceoff circle. He sent a blistering wrist shot that beat Weninger for his third tally of the season.
Almost exactly one minute later, the Thunder tired the score again. Beau Starrett made a perfect pass to McIlmurray who was cruising down the slot. He fired a shot that Ginn saved, but the puck bounced up into the air and over the shoulder of the Mavericks netminder, going in for his second goal of the game.
That sent the contest to overtime. Both teams were cautious with each team taking just four shots in the seven minute frame. It would be the eighth and final shot of the extra session that would prove to be the game winner. Brayden Watts gained control of the puck in the corner with just a few ticks left on the clock. He dished it in front to Parkkonen who was all alone. The Thunder forward drew Ginn to the netminder’s right before moving to his backhand, tucking the puck in the corner of the net for his first goal of the year.
— Wichita Thunder (@Wichita_Thunder) February 24, 2021
The skate-off goal extended the Thunder’s winning streak to three straight games. All three victories have come in the closing minutes of the game or in overtime.
Parkonnen finished with a goal and two assists for Wichita. McIlmurray added two goals. Weninger was solid in net, stopping 39 of 42 shots. Beauregard had an assist, giving him points in 12 straight games. Angeli had three assists for Kansas City.
The Thunder return home to start a 10-game homestand, which begins with a four-game set against Rapid City starting on Friday, February 26. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier