Zach Hall’s Late Goal Helps Continue Thunder Doldrums, 3-2

Zach Hall’s Late Goal Helps Continue Thunder Doldrums, 3-2Game 2 of the four game set between the Allen Americans and the Wichita Thunder came Friday night, and the Thunder were able to take control of this game early, scoring a little over a minute into the game. However, the Americans twice came back to tie the score, and won it when Zach Hall scored with a little less than five minutes left in the game to give the Americans the first two victories of this four game set, and send Wichita to their seventh loss in their last nine.

The Thunder were very much in need of an early goal and Mark MacMillan delivered that for them just 1:06 into the contest. With the puck inside the Allen end, Kevin Dufour battled for the puck and passed it toward MacMillan, who gained control and fired a blistering wrist shot past Stephon Williams for his 13th goal of the year.

At the 10:34 point in the first, Guillaume Lepine took a cross-checking penalty, and Wichita Thunder goalie Joel Rumpel made two huge saves early in the power-play. With the Americans crowding the net, David Markowski was stoned 40 seconds in the man-advantage, and Matthieu Aubin had a great chance six seconds later, but Rumpel made a great pad save to keep his team on top.

Zach Hall: Game Winning Goal (2)

With 10 seconds left in the power-play, the Americans were finally able to tie the score. Colby McAuley worked the puck around to Bryan Moore, who beat Rumpel with a shot through the pads for his 11th goal of the season.

It looked like Allen was going to take the lead a little less than two minutes later. Moore had a golden opportunity for his second goal of the game when he was left alone in front of the Wichita net, but the Thunder goalie made a huge save, and the rebound was cleared to keep it tied.

With just 16 seconds left in the period, Travis Ewanyk gave the Thunder the lead again. Dufour fired a shot that Williams saved, but Ewanyk put the rebound in off the leg of the Allen goalie for his 10th goal of the season.

For the second time, the Americans were able to tie the score, this time at the 13:37 mark of the second period. Connor Reilly passed to Alex Guptill, who worked his way through the Thunder defender and toward the net, where he put the puck in for his ninth goal of the season.

Rumpel had been huge in net all night long, and no save was bigger than on Casey Pierro-Zabotel. He took a shot into a wide open net, that somehow the Thunder goalie was able to regroup and get his body in front of to keep the puck out of the net.

Stephon Williams: 22 Saves

The third period turned into a very physical affair that saw a fight break out that led to an ejection for the Americans Dalton Thrower. It was scoreless for the first 15 minutes, but a miscommunication led to a goal for Allen, giving them their first lead. A shot by Zach Hall was saved, but the puck was loose in front of the net. Rumpel was in no man’s land as to whether to go for the puck or stay in net, and Hall regained the rebound and scored his second goal of the year to make it 3-2.

The Americans then ran out the clock, earning the one goal victory. Stephon Williams made 22 saves for the win. Kevin Dufour had two assists for Wichita, giving him three points in his two games since joining the Thunder.

The third game of this set will be Saturday night in Wichita. The puck drops at 7:05.


Featured Image by Ed Bailey

By Rob Pannier

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