BLOOMINGTON, IL- The Bloomington Thunder came into frIday nights match up against the Mississippi Surge with a new head coach, a new game plan and a new attidude. Greg Pankewicz first game as the head coach saw his team dominate the Surge 5-1 in front of 1,489 fans who braved a blizzard to see their team pick up its fifth win of the season.
Burke Gallimore had a pair of goals and an assist to lead all scorers while teammate Dennis Sicard had a Gordie Howe hat trick; a goal, an assist and a fight. Goalie BJ O’Brien was also a key story in the contest, making 28 saves to earn his second win of the season.
Gallimore opened the scoring just past the nine minute mark of the opening period when he took a feed from Sicard and beat Surge netminder Dan Clarke. It would prove to be the only score of the first frame as Clarke and O’Brien looked ready for a low scoring defensive battle.
The floodgates opened for the Thunder in the middle stanza. Things started just 32 into the period when Gallimore set up Sicard for a goal. When Tyler Noseworthy scored an unassisted goal at the 7:29 mark, Surge coach Jeff Bes replaced Clarke (12 saves) with backup Mathieu Dugas (12 saves) between the pipes. The strategy failed as Travis Granbois notched a power play tally just past the midpoint of the period to expand the home team’s lead to four.
The Surge finally got on the board early in the third when Jarkko Leppanen was able to solve O’Brien. Gallimore restored the four goal cushion a little over two minutes later with an unassisted goal that created the final score.
Mississippi was unable to score on four power play chances while the Thunder scored once in two tries with a man advantage. For the most part, both team stayed out of the penalty box with only 22 minutes in penalties assessed during the entire game. Ten of those penalty minutes came during a third period fight between Sicard and Chapen LeBlond. It was a long bout with both players exchanging many blows.
The same two teams face off again Saturday and Sunday in Bloomington.
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