Wichita, Kan. (January 31st) – Behind a balanced attack, Wichita (18-19-4) raced out to an early lead and held on late to knock off the Allen Americans (25-11-4) on Friday night at INTRUST Bank Arena by the final score of 5-4. Five different Thunder players found the back of the net while 13 skaters registered points in the contest. Wichita improves to 2-1-1 against Allen this season and hands the Americans its first regulation loss since December 26th. The two teams will meet againtomorrow night at the Allen Event Center.
Right off the bat, the tone was set as Erick Lizon and Garrett Klotz dropped the mitts and were sent off for fighting. Wichita used the energy from the altercation and scored first as Tomas Klempa recorded his ninth of the year just 35 later to grab a 1-0 lead. The physical play continued over the next few minutes before the Thunder took a 2-0 lead. Matt Summers grabbed a loose puck behind the net, came out towards the right post and found RG Flath who tucked it past Bryan Pitton at 8:03. Allen got one back at 11:42 as Greger Hanson found himself alone in the slot and roofed a backhand past David Brown’s glove for his 11th of the season. Wichita answered five minutes later when Jesse Dudas caught the back of the net with a seeing-eye shot from the left point through a screen and re-gained a two-goal advantage, up 3-1 heading into the second period.
Wichita increased its lead to 4-1 in the second period when a Jon Booras shot missed the net, re-directed off the end wall and Ian Lowe squirted it through Pitton on the short side at 7:48. The Americans scored the next two in a span of 1:29. Jonathan Lessard cut the lead in half with his 18th of the season at the 10 minute mark as he put home a rebound. Right off a face-off, Lessard stole the puck from a Thunder defenseman, found Kale Kerbashian who tallied his 15th of the year to make it 4-3.
In the third, Wichita had several scoring chances denied by Pitton. At 9:34, Nick McParland got to a rebound while sitting on his knees and scored his sixth of the year to re-gain a two-goal advantage for the Thunder. Later in the period, the Americans tried to rally as Ryley Grantham scored at 16:33 during a scramble at the side of the net to make it 5-4. Pitton was pulled for the extra attacker late in the contest, but Wichita held on and earned its first regulation win of the season against the Americans.
Wichita has claimed three out of a possible four points at home against Allen this season in their two meetings in the Air Capital. Klempa finished with a goal and has points in his last three games (2g, 3a). McParland had a goal and an assist while Summers had two helpers. Lowe has goals in back-to-back games and points in six of the last eight contests (3g, 4a). Flath tallied his 15th of the year and has points in three-straight (2g, 1a). Brown claimed his ninth victory since coming to Wichita and has wins in six out of his last seven starts, stopping 27 of 31 shots. Pitton suffers his fifth loss of the season, stopping 23 of 28 shots.
Wichita went 0-for-2 on the power play. Allen was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Wichita travels down to Allen tomorrow night to take on the Americans at the Allen Event Center at 7:05 p.m. The Thunder return home next Friday to host the Missouri Mavericks at 7:05, which is the start of a three-game in three-night stretch.
With Wichita Thunder team release
Contact the Photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com