Thunder Comeback Falls Short in Tulsa
TULSA, OK – The Wichita Thunder found themselves trailing by three entering the third period on Tuesday, and were twice able to pull within a goal, but fell to the Tulsa Oilers, 5-4. Max Golod led the way for Tulsa, netting a hat trick, the first of his professional career. Chris Van Os-Shaw had two assists and Michal Stinil and Jake Wahlin each had a goal and an assist for Wichita. Eric Dop suffered the loss for the Thunder in his first start with the team.
Tulsa took command of this game, scoring three goals in the first period. The first came off the stick of Mike McKee who netted his second goal of the season 6:29 in the contest. Tyler Poulsen passed the puck to McKee, who blasted a one-timer by Dop.
A little under seven minutes later it was Golod scoring his first goal of the evening. Tag Bertuzzi passed the puck to Golod, who moved his way by the Wichita defenseman and in on Dop, beating him with a wrist shot for his fifth goal of the year.
With 2:17 left in the first frame, Golod scored his second goal of the night. Dante Sheriff fired a shot that Golod redirected past Dop to make it 3-0 Oilers heading to the first intermission.
Wichita got on the board 1:27 into the second when Timur Ibragimov scored a shorthanded goal. Ibragimov made a great play at his own blueline, stealing the puck then heading the opposite direction on a breakaway. As he approached Colten Ellis the Thunder forward got the Oilers netminder down before lifting a wrist shot in for his 10th goal of the season.
Tulsa restored their three-goal lead at the 7:08 mark when Bertuzzi netted his 17th goal of the year. A terrible pass inside the Wichita zone gave Bertuzzi a breakaway, and he delivered, making it 4-1.
The Thunder had been outshot 32-15 through the first two periods and looked like this was going to be a complete blowout, but Stinil gave his team some hope at 6:02 of the third when he netted his team-leading 23rd tally of the year. Stinil had the puck inside the Tulsa end, moving out toward the neutral zone before curling back into the Oilers end. There he fired a blistering wrist shot that beat Ellis to make it 4-2.
With 2:31 left in the game, Mark Liwiski made this a one goal game. He took a pass from Wahlin in the slot, then beat Ellis with a wrist shot to the far post for his eighth of the year.
Tulsa looked like they had sealed the victory when Golod netted an empty net goal with 54 seconds left, completing the hat trick. However, Wahlin scored 34 seconds later to pull Wichita back within one. Van Os-Shaw took a shot that was saved, but Wahlin put in the rebound.
With 20 seconds left, Wichita pulled Dop once again but could not get the equalizer. Dop finished with 32 saves. Ellis stopped 21 for the Oilers.
The Wichita Thunder (25-19-4) return home on Wednesday to take on the division leading Idaho Steelheads (36-8-2). The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier