Scheel, Steelheads Defense Stymies Thunder
BOISE, ID – The Idaho Steelheads completed the sweep of their three-game set with the with the Wichita Thunder on Saturday thanks to a stifling defense that allowed just 19 shots. That helped Adam Scheel earn his 11th win of the season in the 3-1 victory. Evan Buitenhuis played very well for Wichita, stopping 32 shots and Michal Stinil scored the only goal for the Thunder.
Idaho pressured the Thunder from the outset, outshooting Wichita 16-8 in the first period. However, Buitenhuis was spectacular, keeping this game scoreless despite numerous chances for the Steelheads.
Idaho finally broke through at 1:09 of the second when A.J. White scored his 14th goal of the season. Wichita attempted to clear the puck out of their zone, but Matt Register made a great play at the blueline to keep it in. He passed the puck to Justin Ducharme, who fired a shot that White tipped past Buitenhuis to put the Steelheads on top.
Wichita was held to just 14 shots through the first two periods, as the Steelheads defense continued to stymie the Wichita attack. However, Stinil tied the score 51 seconds into the third period, netting his 20th goal of the season. Peter Bates stole the puck inside his own end, then led a rush the other direction. As he approached Scheel, Bates went across the slot to Stinil who fired a shot past the sprawling netminder to tie the score at one.
The Thunder were tied and had withstood a relentless Steelheads attack, but a bad turnover inside their own zone gave Idaho back the lead at 7:35. Nick Canade intercepted the pass, then fired a wrist shot that beat Buitenhuis for his third goal of the year.
With 40 seconds left in the contest, Ryan Dmowski sealed the victory with an empty net goal. It was his 18th of the year.
Despite taking the loss, Buitenhuis was outstanding, stopping 32 of 34 shots. He lowered his goals-against average to 2.88 and has stopped at least 34 shots in six straight games.
The Wichita Thunder (23-16-3) are off until Saturday when they will welcome the Rapid City Rush (20-21-1). The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier