Stinil Overtime Winner Gives Coach Ramsay 500th Career Victory
WICHITA, KS – Michal Stinil scored his team leading 24th goal of the season 36 seconds into overtime giving the Wichita Thunder a 6-5 victory over the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday. The victory gave Head Coach Bruce Ramsay the 500th career win of his professional coaching career. On the opposite side, goaltender Eric Dop earned his first career ECHL victory. Stinil, Jay Dickman, Peter Bates, and Brett Van Os each had two points for the Thunder.
The Steelheads came out of the first period with a 2-0 lead. Janis Svanenbergs gave his team the advantage 11:39 into the contest, scoring his first goal of the night. Casey Johnson passed the puck to Svanenbergs along the boards. He then moved toward the net, beating Dop with a wrist shot for his 11th goal of the year.
Five minutes later, Ryan Dmowski extended the lead to two with his 21st tally of the season. Antonio Stranges passed the puck to Dmowski in the slot, who blasted a one-timer that Dop got a piece of, but the puck slipped past him, crawling across the goal line to make it 2-0.
The Thunder had been totally dominated in the first period, outshot 17-8 in the frame. However, they took control in the second, outshooting Idaho 13-9 while scoring two goals to tie the score heading to the second intermission.
Mark Liwiski cut the deficit to one, scoring his ninth goal of the season at the 1:55 mark. Chris McKay took a shot that Liwiski redirected by Rémi Poirier to make it 2-1.
Just after the seven-minute mark, Van Os tied the score. Bates entered the Idaho zone with the defenseman all but mugging him. He was somehow able to get off a backhand shot that Poirier saved, but Van Os put in the rebound for his sixth goal of the season.
Idaho suddenly found themselves tied with the Thunder, but retook the lead with two goals in the first four minutes of the third period. Willie Knierim put his team back on top at 1:50, using the forecheck to steal the puck, then coming out in front of Dop and putting the puck past his blocker to make it 3-2.
At 3:39, Jordan Kawaguchi extend the lead to two. Matt Register took a shot that Dop saved but no one cleared out Kawaguchi, who put the rebound in for his 19th goal of the year.
This was a wild back-and-forth third period, and eventually the Thunder were able to break through against Poirier when Dylan MacPherson netted his ninth goal of the season at 14:30. Bates passed the puck back to MacPherson in the high slot, who blasted a one-timer by the Steelheads netminder to make it 4-3.
Idaho still looked like they were in good position, but the last two minutes of this game were wild. Dickman tied the score at 18:19, netting his 18th goal of the year. Stinil took a shot that Poirier saved, but Dickman was right in front, pushing the rebound inside the far post to tie the score at four.
Just 15 seconds later, Idaho retook the lead when Svanenbergs netted his second goal of the game.
It looked like Idaho was going to withstand this late rally from the Thunder, but Cole MacDonald tied the score with his fifth goal of the season with 55 seconds left in the contest. With the Thunder on the power-play, MacDonald blasted a shot from the high slot that beat the Steelheads goaltender to force overtime.
The overtime session did not last long, as Stinil intercepted a pass by A.J. White, heading the other direction on a breakaway. He got Poirier leaning slightly one direction before putting the puck between his legs with the game-winner.
Wichita snapped a streak of 21 consecutive power plays without a goal, going 1-3 with the man advantage. Dop earned his first victory as an ECHL netminder, stopping 39 shots. Bates had two assists and Dickman, Stinil, and Van Os each had a goal and an assist.
The victory was the 500th for Head Coach Bruce Ramsay in his professional coaching career. It is his fourth season with the Thunder, where he now has a 118-107-27 record.
The Wichita Thunder (26-19-4) are off until Saturday when they will take on the Tulsa Oilers (16-22-8). The contest will be the 1000th in the history of legendary Wichita Thunder broadcaster Jason Mals’ career. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier