Four-Goal Third Period Gives Alaska Aces Comeback Victory, 6-4
For about fifty minutes of Sunday evening’s competition the Wichita Thunder were dominating the Alaska Aces, controlling the tempo of the game and leading 3-2. However, the final 10:17 would see the Aces net four on their way to a 6-4 victory.
The first half of the first period was a physical affair as both teams were making some bit hits. At the 10:40 mark, the Thunder would take the lead. Gerrad Grant would drop the puck back to Nick Trecapelli, who blasted a shot from the right point that went over Michael Garteig’s shoulder and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
A little over two minutes later, Alaska would tie the score. With their power-play just expiring, Daniel Moynihan skated into the Thunder end and split between two defenders. He then lifted a backhand shot over the shoulder of Scott Greenham to tie the score at one. That was Moynihan’s fourth goal of the season and third in two games.
Wichita would retake the lead just before the end of the first period. Ian Lowe made a great pass up the right boards to Alexis Loiseau, who was standing alone at the Aces blueline. He went into the zone and wristed a shot into the net for his ninth goal of the season to make it 2-1.
The Thunder had the momentum going with them and would extend their lead 3:31 into the second period. Lowe passed up ice to Logan Nelson, who carried the puck into the zone. Nelson then made a beautiful pass to avoid a sliding defender that Loiseau tipped into the net for his 10th goal of the season to extend the lead to two.
A little less than seven minutes later Alaska would cut the deficit to one. Steven Tarasuk gathered the puck behind the Thunder net and skated out in front, firing a shot on net that Greenham saved. However, the puck came right to Tommy Olczyk who put it right back in to make it 3-2.
For the next 20-minutes it would stay a one-goal game, but 9:43 into the final frame the Aces would tie the score. Alaska gained control of the puck in the Wichita end and Dax Lauwers fired a shot on net that Greenham saved, but Stephen Perfetto put the puck right back on net, this time getting past the Wichita goalie for his eighth of the season.
Six-minutes later they would take the lead for the first time. Tarasuk’s shot from the point was saved by Greenham but, once again, the rebound was put in by Tim Wallace to make it 4-3. It was the lack of ability to keep Aces players from in front of the net that became the Achilles heel for the Thunder, and Head Coach Malcolm Cameron was not happy about it.
“I have never seen a team 12-games into the season before that was allowing so many shots one foot in front of the goal,” the Coach explained after the game. “They are just not showing the grit that is needed here, and that needs to change right away.”
The Thunder were trailing in the game for the first time, but it would not be for long. A mere 26-seconds after the Aces goal, Nathan Moon had the puck behind the net and looked to center it, but the puck hit off of Garteig’s skate and trickled into the net to tie the score. It was Moon’s third goal in three games since joining the Thunder.
The stadium came alive, but 36-seconds later the crowd would be silenced. Garet Hunt made a nice move to put the puck in the net for his first goal of the season and the Aces were on top to stay. Peter Sivak would add an empty-net goal with 28-seconds left and the Alaska Aces were the winners, 6-4.
Loiseau scored two goals for the Wichita Thunder. Both Perfetto and Wallace had a goal and an assist for the Alaska Aces. Sivak had a goal and 2-assists. Lauwers and Tarasuk each added 2-assists.
The Thunder are off until Wednesday night when they will Welcome the Tulsa Oilers to town. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier