Stinil Delivers Skate-Off Goal in OT to Lead Thunder, 3-2
RAPID CITY, SD – Michal Stinil scored 24 seconds into overtime to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 3-2 lea victory over the Rapid City Rush. Wichita held a 2-0 lead entering the third period, but Rapid City scored twice in the final frame to force overtime. That is when Stinil delivered the game-winner to thwart the Rapid City comeback. Brendan van Riemsdyk recorded two assists for the Thunder. Stephen Baylis had both goals for Rapid City.
The Thunder dominated the first period, controlling play and came out of the first frame with a 1-0 lead. Just after the 14-minute mark, van Riemsdyk knocked the puck off the stick of a Rapid City player inside their own zone right onto the stick of Logan Fredericks. Fredericks fired a laser wrist shot that caught the far corner for his ninth goal of the year.
In the second, the Rush controlled play early on, but Garrett Schmitz scored at 8:50 turning the period around. Van Reimsdyk set the play up, battling along the boards inside the Rapid City end before he came away with the puck. He then found Schmitz streaking toward the net, lifting the puck toward the slot where the Thunder defenseman deflected it in for his fifth goal of the year.
Wichita had outshot Rapid City 18-8 in the second frame and were controlling the play. However, the Rush dominated in the third frame and were able to tie the score. Baylis led the way, scoring 1:50 into the third period to cut the deficit in half. Calder Brooks sent a pass to Baylis who beat Jake Theut with a redirect for his 18th goal of the year.
At the 14:44 mark, Cam Clarke had just come out of the penalty box when Baylis took a shot. The puck deflected off the face of Clarke and in to tie the score at two.
The third period woes for the Thunder continued, but Wichita made short work of the extra session. After Clarke blocked a shot attempt at his own blueline, he headed the opposite direction on a 2-on-1 break. He waited to get around the defenseman before making a perfect feed across the crease to Stinil. The Thunder forward lifted a wrist shot past Lukas Parik to give Wichita a 3-2 victory. For Stinil, it was his ninth goal of the year.
Theut earned the victory, stopping 32 of 34 shots. He was spectacular in net, denying Rapid City on a couple of great scoring chances in the final frame. The victory was his fourth in a row, moving Theut to 6-5-2.
These teams will go at it again on Friday evening. The puck drops at 8:05 Wichita time.
By Robert Pannier