Matt Garbowsky Aids Colorado Eagles in Extending Win Streak, 5-3
The Wichita Thunder entered Wednesday night’s game looking to snap a six-game losing streak, but this was the worst of circumstances. The Thunder were in the midst of a six-games in nine-day stretch and also had to take on the red hot Colorado Eagles, winners of six straight games. Led by 3-assists by Matt Garbowsky and 2-goals by Alex Belzile, the Eagles won this game, 5-3, to extend their win streak to seven.
The Eagles jumped out in front just 2:33 into the first period when Grabowsky entered into the Thunder end. He passed to Cody Corbett who fired a wrist shot that hit off the knob of goalie Scott Greenham’s stick and deflected in to make it 1-0.
A little less than five minutes later Colorado would extend their lead. While on the power-play, Jake Marto regained control of the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Mitch Holmberg who beat Greenham over the shoulder for the Eagles second power-play goal of the game.
The Thunder were totally dominated in the first period, being outshot 16-2 and were fortunate to come away down by just two-goals. In the second they would tie the score only to see the Eagles retake the lead in short order.
Wichita tied the score with two power-play goals of their own. The first came at the 6:17 mark when Ryan Rupert passed to Zach O’Brien in the Eagles corner. He fed Jamie Doornbosch at the point who blasted a slap shot by Clarke Saunders for his seventh goal of the season.
A little over six-minutes later the Thunder would tie the score. Matt DeBlouw fired a shot that was saved by Saunders, but Louick Marcotte was able to corral the puck. Instead of simply shooting the puck back on net, he wisely held on and made a great move toward the other side of the net, catching the netminder out of position and putting the puck in for his ninth goal of the season. That was also the third straight game in which he has scored a goal.
The Thunder were pumped up but that would enthusiasm would end abruptly when the Eagles retook the lead just 39-seconds later. Colorado entered the Thunder end with a great deal of speed and Jackson Houck beat Greenham for his sixth goal of the season.
Just 83-seconds later they would extend their lead back to two. Matt Grabowsky carried the puck into the Thunder end on a 3-on-1 break. As he approached the net he passed all the way across the slot to the other faceoff circle where Alex Belzile netted his first goal of the game, a beautiful wrist shot that beat the Wichita goalie for his fourth goal of the season.
The game would head into the third before the Thunder would make this a one-goal game once again. At the 8:43 mark, Wichita was killing a power-play. The defenseman for Colorado had the puck at the point when David Friedmann came out of the penalty box and poked the puck away from the Eagles player. Ian Lowe dove for the puck and pushed it ahead, sending Friedmann on a breakaway. He beat Saunders between the legs with a brilliant move and it was 4-3.
With a little over a minute left in the game, Wichita looked to tie the score, pulling their goalie for the extra attacker. However, the Thunder were struggling to clear the puck from their own end. Grabowsky was able to steal it along the boards and passed to Belzile, who fired the shot into the empty net to make it 5-3.
Clarke Saunders faced only 21-shots, saving 18 of them. Matt Grabowsky finished with 3-assists and Alex Belzile had 2-goals. Jamie Doornbosch had a goal and an assist for Wichita. Scott Greenham made 35-saves.
Both of these two teams are off Thursday, but return to the ice Friday night against one another. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier