Matsushima OT Winner Continues Thunder Woes, 4-3
WICHITA, KS – Peter Crinella scored with 59 seconds left in the game to force overtime, but the Tulsa Oilers still earned the victory, scoring 1:23 into the extra session to give the Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Wichita Thunder. The loss continues the woes for Wichita, who are now 0-8-1 in their last nine games, but the team did finally earn a point for the first time since beating the Iowa Heartlanders in a shootout on December 1. Crinella finished with two goals. Carson Donomie had two goals for Tulsa.
Crinella got the Thunder rolling, scoring a power-play goal 6:03 into the contest. Cam Clarke carried the puck through the neutral zone, passing it to Brayden Watts just before he entered the Oilers zone. Watts carried the puck down the boards nearing the goal line, then dished it Crinella who was just inside the left faceoff circle. He buried a one-timer past Tulsa netminder Daniel Mannella to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers had outshot Wichita 13-9 in the first period, but came away trailing. However, they rectified that 21 seconds into the second period as Denomie scored his first goal of the game. Alex Kromm battled for the puck along the half boards inside the Thunder end. He came away with the puck, then found Denomie trailing the play. He blasted a laser past Evan Buitenhuis to tie the score.
The scored remained tied at one for nearly 16 minutes before Tulsa took their first lead of the night. With the Oilers on the power play, Jack Doremus carried the puck into the Wichita zone, moving quickly past the Thunder defenseman. He swept across the crease, tucking a backhander under the crossbar for his 12th goal of the year.
With a little less than two minutes left in the frame, the Thunder tied the score. Sean Allen fired a shot from the point that Mannella saved, but the rebound came right to Michal Stinil just inside the left faceoff circle. He blasted the one-timer by the Oilers goaltender for second goal in a Thunder uniform.
The score remained tied at two coming out of the second intermission, but the Oilers retook the lead 7:39 into the third. Tulsa was back on the power play, and were doing a great job of controlling the puck inside the Thunder zone. Dornemus had the puck along the half-boards when he noticed Denomie streaking down the slot. He made a perfect feed that Denomie redirected past Buitenhuis to put the Oilers back on top, 3-2.
It looked like Tulsa would hang on for the hard-fought victory, but Crinella scored with less than a minute left to send this game to overtime. With Buitenhuis off for the extra attacker, Carter Johnson won the draw inside the Oilers end. Jay Dickman pushed the puck over to Crinella, who quickly fired a wrist shot, beating Mannella with his second goal of the game.
The game went to the extra session where Tulsa won it 1:23 into overtime. Dylan Sadowy and Eddie Matsushima headed into the Thunder end on a 2-on-0 break. Matsushima passed the puck across the slot to Sadowy, drawing Buitenhuis to that side before he passed it back to Matsushima, who easily tucked the puck in for the game winner.
Watts had two assists for Wichita. Buitenhuis stopped 34 of 38 shots. Sadowy and Duggie Lagrone each had two assists. Doremus had a goal and an assist.
These two teams will square off again on Monday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier