Third Period Rally Makes Winners of Wichita Thunder, Drew Owsley
The Wichita Thunder made their first ever trip to North Charleston on Tuesday night, taking on the South Carolina Stingrays. For 40 minutes of this contest the home town Stingrays were very rude hosts as Adam Carlson blanked the Thunder, giving his team a 1-0 lead entering the third period. However, a three-goal frame vaulted Wichita to the 3-1 victory, backing the stellar goaltending of Drew Owsley, who was making his first professional start.
It was a scoreless first period as both goalies looked sharp early on. The Thunder outshot the Stingrays, 14-11, as both teams had opportunities to score, but Owsley and Carlson both stood tall to head to the first break with the score tied.
In the second, South Carolina would take the lead. Rob Flick carried the puck into the Wichita end on a 2-1 break. He made a great pass to Gaul who put it home to give the Stingrays the quick one-goal lead at the 8:37 point in the period. That was Gaul’s first goal of the season.
The period was completely dominated by South Carolina, outshooting Wichita 15-2. Despite giving up the goal, Owsley was absolutely brilliant in the period, as the puck seemed to be in the Thunder end for virtually the entire frame. The Stringrays were in complete control of the action and had many other chances to extend their lead, but the Thunder goalie was making one great save after another to keep it a one-goal game.
The South Carolina Stringrays entered the third period dominating the action, but the Wichita Thunder came out fired up in the third. Wichita began to dominate the play and had control in the Stingrays end. At the 4:21 mark, Louick Marcotte passed to Alexis Loiseau who sped across the slot and fired a shot that Carlson could not reach. Loiseau’s first goal of the season tied the score at one.
A little over six minutes later the Thunder were controlling the play in the home team’s end. Alex Krushelnyski passed to Gabriel Gagne, who made a nice pass to Matt DeBlouw. DeBlouw’s shot found the back of the net and the Thunder had their first lead of the game with a little over eight minutes left in the contest. It was DeBlouw’s second goal of the season.
The Stringrays pulled their goalie with a little over 90 seconds left in the contest, looking for the equalizer. Owsley made a brilliant save with 62-seconds left to preserve the lead, and 19-seconds later Krushelnyski buried an empty-net goal to seal the victory. It was his second goal of the season.
Owsley earned the victory in his first professional start, stopping 32 of the 33 shots against him. Both Krushelnyski and Loiseau finished with a goal and an assist for the Wichita Thunder.
Thursday the Thunder (2-1-0-0) head to Atlanta for an early morning affair. Game time is 10:05 am EST.
By Robert Pannier