Three Unanswered Goals Help Thunder Rally Past Grizzlies, 4-3
The Wichita Thunder found themselves trailing 3-1 with just 22 minutes left in Saturday night’s hockey game with the Utah Grizzlies. However, three unanswered goals helped the team rally for a 4-3 victory. Peter Crinella scored the game-winner and Beau Starrett and Matteo Gennaro each had two points for the Thunder.
The Thunder were playing catchup for most of this contest. The Grizzlies took their first lead 12:23 into the contest, thanks to a power play goal. Hunter Skinner passed the puck along the blueline to Josh Dickinson, who moved in Wichita netminder Evan Weninger, firing a wrist shot that beat him over the glove for his first tally of the season.
Utah maintained the 1-0 lead going into the second, but Starrett evened the score at 4:41, recording a short-handed goal. The Thunder forward carried the puck into the Grizzlies end along the boards. He battled through a check, moving into the corner before heading across the goal line. When he was about four feet from the net, he fired a wrist shot up high that somehow found the top corner for his fifth goal of the year. That gave him goals in back-to-back contests.
The Grizzlies regained the lead less than two minutes later, scoring their second power play goal of the game. The Thunder attempted to clear the puck out of the zone, but Miles Gendron intercepted the attempt, blasting a one-timer by Weninger for his sixth goal of the season.
Less than a minute later, Utah extended their lead to two with another unassisted goal. Skinner picked up the loose puck near his own blueline then headed up ice along the boards. When he was about five feet from the end line, he fired a shot that somehow found its way through the Thunder netminder and in to make it 3-1.
Wichita was getting their opportunities, but Utah goaltender Kevin Carr was coming up with a number of great saves. Finally, was a little less than two minutes left in the second period, the Thunder were able to cut the deficit to one. Patrik Parkkonen fired a shot from the point that Carr saved, but Anthony Beauregard knocked in the loose puck for his 12th goal of the year. He now has goals in four straight games, recording five tallies during that stretch.
The late goal had Wichita fired up heading into the third. They were dominating play, and that resulted in Brayden Watts tying the game at three just before the eight-minute mark. Gennaro dug the puck out of the corner, passing it to Spencer Dorowicz at the side of the net. He redirected it towards Watts, who knocked in the one-timer for his second goal of the year.
Wichita was buzzing, and that gave them the opportunity to take the lead with just under five minutes left in the game. John Albert dug the puck out of the corner, passing it to Starrett, who was just inside the left faceoff circle. He fired a one-timer that Carr saved, but the rebound came right to Crinella, who blasted it in for his seventh goal of the year. That gave Wichita a 4-3 lead.
From there, the Thunder defense clamped down on Utah, allowing one shot over the final five minutes of the game. In fact, there was only one shot on net following the Crinella tally.
Weninger stopped 28 of 31 shots for his 12th win of the season. Carr stopped 30 of 34 shots.
The Thunder (20-6-3) take to the ice again on Sunday when they welcome the Kansas City Mavericks. The puck drops at 4:05.
By Robert Pannier