Beauregard, Dickman Lead Thunder Comeback Victory, 6-4
Anthony Beauregard and Jay Dickman each scored two goals to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 6-4 come from behind victory over the Wheeling Nailers on Sunday evening. Beauregard added three assists and Dickman added two. Evan Weninger stopped 31 shots for his 15th win of the season.
This was a wild first period that saw Wichita outshoot Wheeling 16-11. The Thunder controlled the early action, but the ice began to tilt in the Nailers direction, and that helped them to take the lead 3:21 into the contest. Jacob Hayhurst carried the puck along the boards and into the Thunder end. It was knocked off his stick, but right to Patrick McNally who fired a shot just outside of the left face-off circle. Weninger made the save, but the rebound came right to Matt Miller who tapped it in for his third goal of the year.
A little over eight minutes later, Wichita tied the score thanks to a power-play goal by Beau Starrett. Starrett carried the puck out of the Thunder zone and into the Nailers end. The puck was knocked off his stick, but right into his legs, allowing him to regain control. As he reached the net, he fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Taran Kozun for his sixth tally of the season.
With a little less than three minutes left in the first, Wheeling retook the lead thanks to a beautiful set up. Miller had the puck at the point and fired it ahead to Jacob Pritchard standing in front of the goal. He made a nice little flip back to Austin Fyten who blasted the one-time by the Wichita netminder for his 12th goal of the season.
Wheeling looked like they would hold the one-goal lead heading into the first intermission, but Dickman scored his 10th goal of the season with 24 seconds left in the period to tie the score. Stefan Fournier carried the puck into the Nailers end on a 3-on-2 break. He passed it toward Beauregard who moved in toward the right corner of the net, drawing Kozun toward the post. That allowed Beauregard to make a perfect pass across the slot to Dickman who buried the one-timer.
As they had the previous night, the Nailers dominated the second period, outshooting Wichita 18-1. That helped Wheeling grab a two-goal lead. The first came at 9:16 when Miller scored his second goal of the contest. Hayhurst burst through the neutral zone and into the Thunder end, passing the puck back to Miller who was trailing the play. He fired a one-timer by Weninger to give the Nailers a 3-2 lead.
A little less than three minutes later, the lead became two. Wichita was trying to clear the puck out of their own end, but Cody Sylvester knocked down the clearing attempt and onto the stick of Joshua Winquist who fired a quick wrist shot by Weninger for his third goal of the season.
It was looking like Wichita was going to be blown out for the second straight night, but the team came out with a renewed sense of urgency in the third period, dominating play. The Thunder outshot Wheeling 16-6 in the frame, helping the team to tally four goals.
Just after the four-minute mark, Beauregard grabbed his 13th goal of the season. With Wichita on the power-play, Patrik Parkkonen passed the puck down low to Dickman standing near the post. Kozun was able to quickly slide over and stop the attempt by the Thunder forward, but the rebound bounced to the other side of the net where Beauregard buried it to cut the deficit to one.
Just after the halfway point of the period, Wichita tied the score. Wheeling won the draw deep inside their own end. However, the clearing pass was knocked down by Dickman and onto the stick of Beauregard. He swooped in on the net, looking to stuff the backhander by Kozun, but the Nailers netminder made a nice save. The rebound deflected to the opposite side of the net where Fournier knocked it in for his team-leading 15th goal of the year. That tied the score at four.
This game looked like it was headed to an extra session, but Wichita took the lead with 2:08 left in the contest. Beauregard passed the puck out of his own to Dickman cruising down the boards. As he moved into the Nailers end, he tried to pass the puck to Fournier who was heading to the back door. The puck deflected off a defenseman’s stick and past Kozun to give Wichita their first lead of the contest.
With 40 seconds left in the game, Beauregard delivered the empty net tally, his second goal of the season. That made it 6-4, which would be the final.
Beauregard finished with five points for Wichita. Dickman added four of his own. Fournier had a goal and an assist. Miller had two goals and an assist for Wheeling.
They Wichita Thunder (23-10-5) moved back in the second place in the Western Conference with the victory. They welcome the Kansas City Mavericks (14-13-8) on Wednesday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier