Marek Delivers Last Minute Game-Winner to Propel Thunder to Victory
Wichita, KS – The Iowa Heartlanders tied the score halfway through the third period and it looked like this game was headed to overtime, but Bradley Marek scored the game-winner with 55 seconds left in the contest to give the Wichita Thunder a 4-2 victory. Marek and Brayden Watts each finished with a goal and an assist, and Jay Dickman had three points. Beck Warm earned the victory, stopping 32 shots.
Iowa scored the only goal of the first 40 minutes of the contest when Davis Koch notched his first goal of the season 12:31 into the contest. A battle for a loose puck ensued behind the Thunder net. Will Calverley came away with it, feeding it in front to Koch who buried a wrist shot past Warm to make it 1-0.
Wichita outshot Iowa in the first period, 18-6, but Peyton Jones was spectacular, denying the Thunder at every opportunity. That continued into the second, when the Heartlanders had a 14-11 shot advantage. Both netminders looked spectacular, making this a great goaltender’s battle.
However, in the third, Wichita finally broke through against Jones. At 2:38, Marek took a shot that Dickman redirected past Jones for his third goal of the year.
Just before the four-minute mark, the Thunder took the lead. That came when Dillon Boucher intercepted a clearing attempt inside the Heartlanders zone. He quickly fired off a wrist shot that hit off the post and went in for his first goal of the season.
This time it was Wichita trying to preserve the one goal advantage, but Iowa tied the score just before the 10-minute mark. Koch took a shot that Warm saved, but Maxim Cajkovic pounced on the rebound, pushing it past the Wichita netminder to knot the game at two. It was the third goal of the weekend for Cajkovic.
This game looked like it was destined for overtime, but Marek delivered the game-winner at 19:05. Michal Stinil intercepted the clearing attempt at the Iowa blueline, then found Marek in front of Jones. He corralled the puck on his stick, then lifted a wrist shot in for his fourth goal of the season.
Jones headed for the bench after the ensuing face-off, and Watts sealed the victory when he put in an empty net goal for his second goal of the year.
Watts finished with two points in the game and has at least two points in three straight contests. Warm earned his second victory of the season, stopping 32 of 34 shots.
The Thunder (3-3-0) swept the three games from this past weekend. Now the team heads to the road for six straight games, beginning with three against Idaho Steelheads. The first game of that series is Wednesday night. The puck drops at 8:05.
by Robert Pannier