PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Erick Lizon scored four-minutes into overtime, giving the Wichita Thunder a 2-1 win to push the Arizona Sundogs to the brink of elimination in their opening round best-of-seven playoff series. The Thunder, for the third straight game in the series, outshot the Sundogs, this time peppering goalie David Brown with 44 shots. Brown managed to stop 42 shots while his Wichita counterpart, Torrie Jung, also turned in a solid performance, stopping 29 of 30 Arizona shots.
Continuing the physical play that prevailed in game two of the series last Saturday, the two teams combined for 68 penalty minutes by way of a variety of penalties, highlighted by two fights and an abuse of officials game misconduct call against Sundogs Head Coach Scott Muscutt following the night’s final goal. Neither team, however, could capitalize on the power play. Wichita was blanked on eight man advantages, while Arizona was unsuccessful on three power play attempts.
The first two periods saw the bulk of the penalty calls, including first period fights featuring Sebastien Geoffrion against Chad Painchaud and Kip Brennan versus Aaron Boogard. In total, 50 penalty minutes were assessed in the first 40-minutes of play.
For the first time in the series, Arizona claimed the early lead when Chad Nehring found the back of the net 7:56 into the opening period with Ron Meyers and Johan Ryd picking up assists. The 3,180 fans on hand at Tim’s Toyota Center would have to wait a while before they saw anymore scoring.
Some 46-minutes later Wichita would finally tie the game when Kevin Young scored with six-minutes remaining in the third. R.G. Flath collected a loose puck behind the Arizona goal line and sent a backhand to Young who then sailed a wrist shot over Brown’s glove from the slot to send the game to overtime. Gregor Hanson was credited with the secondary assist on the play.
Four-minutes into the extra period Travis Wight split two defenders and centered a pass to Lizon who crushed a slap shot home past Brown to give the Thunder a 2-1 win on his second career post-season goal.
Wichita now holds a 3-0 series lead and will look to sweep Arizona tonight in game four. If the Sundogs can manage to hold off elimination with a win tonight, the series will shift back to Wichita for game five on Saturday, April 6. The puck will drop tonight at 6:05 PM MST.
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