Saucerman OT Goal Spoils Gillam Gem, Thunder Fall 2-1
Mitch Gillam put together his most impressive performance of the 2019-20 ECHL season on Friday night, stopping 39 shots. However, Colton Saucerman would spoil the outing, scoring the game-winning goal 4:09 into overtime to lead the Idaho Steelheads to a 2-1 victory over the Wichita Thunder. Tomas Sholl stopped 24 shots in the Idaho win.
This was the home opener for the Idaho Steelheads and the home crowd had the team fired up as they dominated this contest early on, outshooting Wichita in the first, 17-8. Despite being heavily outshot, the Thunder had a couple of golden opportunities, but Sholl denied them each time.
Gillam was looking equally impressive, but Idaho would finally get to him at 14:49 of the first period. With the Steelheads on a power play, A.J. White passed the puck across the slot to Will Merchant, who blasted the one timer in for his first goal of the season.
Things settled down in the second, as Wichita attempted to tie the score. However, Sholl continued to deny the Thunder, stopping nine shots in the frame. After stopping 16 shots in the first, Gillam continued to shine, keeping all 10 Idaho attempts out of the net.
It looked like Sholl was going to deny the Wichita Thunder an opportunity to tie the score, but a great effort by Stefan Fournier set up the scoring chance at 13:26 of the third period. Fournier gained control of the puck, skating behind the net looking for the wraparound opportunity. Solin was able to make the initial save, but the puck was loose in the crease. Chris Crane swooped in and knocked the puck in for his fourth goal of the year.
Tied at one, the game headed to overtime. The Idaho Steelheads had dominated much of the play throughout the contest, and that continued into the extra frame. The Steelheads outshot Wichita 4-1 in OT and that would eventually result in the winning goal. Marc-Olivier Roy’s shot on Gillam was saved, but Colton Saucerman worked his way past the Thunder defenseman to knock the rebound in to send the crowd home happy.
No player had more than a point for either team. Chris Crane’s goal now gives him four through the first four games of the season.
The Wichita Thunder (1-1-2) will take on the Idaho Steelheads (3-0-0) again on Saturday. The puck drops at 8:10 Wichita time.
By Robert Pannier
Featured Image Courtesy of Idaho Steelheads