Crinella Three-Point Night Propels Thunder Past Allen, 4-3
WICHITA, KS – Stephen Johnson scored the game winning goal a little less than eight minutes into the third to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 4-3 victory over the Allen Americans. This was an exciting contest that saw Wichita take three one-goal leads only to see Allen respond each time. Peter Crinella scored a goal and added two assists as part of a three-point night. The Thunder are 8-0-2 in their last 10, reaching the .500 mark.
Logan Fredericks gave Wichita the lead 2:25 into the contest. This was a beautiful goal as Crinella fed the puck to Fredericks, who made a nice move to stickhandle the puck around Chad Costello, then beat Luke Peressini for his 11th goal of the year.
Allen tied the score with 1:08 left in the first period. Jack Combs passed the puck to J.C. Campagna near the net. He turned and beat Olivier Rodrique with a wrist shot to send the contest to the first intermission tied at one.
The Thunder retook the lead 1:22 into the second period. With Wichita on the power-play, Stefan Fournier passed the puck back to Cam Clarke, who blasted a slapshot by Peressini to make it 2-1. That was the sixth goal of the season for Clarke.
Exactly four minutes later the Americans responded to tie the score again. Kris Myllari took a shot that Rodrigue saved, but Combs put in the rebound for his 15th goal of the year.
Wichita retook the lead at 11:27, scoring their second power-play goal of the game. Clarke fired a shot from the point that was saved by the Americans netminder, but Crinella pounced on the rebound, shoveling it past Peressini for his 18th goal.
The one-goal lead held into the third period, but Campagna scored his second goal of the game 1:51 into the third to tie the score for the third time in the game. Jake Kearley took a shot that Campagna redirected past Rodrigue to make it 3-3.
At the 7:44 mark, Johnson put his team back on top for the fourth time. Billy Exell passed the puck to Johnson, who moved down the right side. He tried the pass the puck across the slot, but the attempt was knocked down. Johnson regained control, putting a backhander past the Allen goaltender for his seventh goal of the season.
The Americans put the pressure on trying to get the equalizer, but the Thunder were able to hold on for the 4-3 victory. Crinella extended his scoring streak to four straight games, scoring at least one goal and one assist in each of those contests. Rodrigue finished with 25 saves. Clarke had a goal and an assist.
These teams move to Allen for Saturday night’s contest. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier