WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, as they cruised to a 5-2 victory to take a 2-1 series lead before 6,184 fans at the Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday night.
Five Thunder players scored two or more points in the contest, while goaltender Torrie Jung shook off the loss he suffered in game two and claimed his tenth win of the post-season. Gregor Hanson (2G, 1A) and R.G. Flath (1G, 2A) led the Thunder in scoring with three points each. Ian Lowe added a goal and assist while Dave Inman and Kevin Young each contributed two assists.
Hanson got the Thunder rolling five minutes into the first period, picking up a steal at the Allen blue line, later receiving a feed and driving in on net to score from the backhand to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Hanson returned the favor, setting up Flath with a no-look pass. Flath wrapped it in past goalie Aaron Dell at 10:25, making it a 2-0 Wichita advantage.
Allen finally got on the board early in the second, taking advantage of a late first period penalty on Hanson. Brian McMillin would beat Jung on a one-timer from Kale Kerbashian just 58-seconds into the period while still on the power play, cutting the Wichita lead to 2-1. Allen would try to make the most of their opportunities, while outshooting Wichita 11-6 in the period, but would not be able to add another score in the frame.
Hanson would add his second goal of the night ten minutes later during a Wichita power play. With Todd Robinson serving a minor for slashing, Hanson collected a rebound to the left side of the cage and put it past Dell to make it 3-1.
Lowe added to the lead one-minute into the final period, sending home a slap shot from the right circle off a pass from Young, making it 4-1. Chad Painchaud added his name to the score sheet with an empty net goal from Inman and Lowe with three minutes remaining to make the score 5-1, Wichita. Jim McKenzie gave Allen a late goal with 23-seconds remaining, pulling them within three.
Allen’s Darryl Bootland received a high-sticking match penalty mid-way through the third period, putting his status for game four in question.
Wichita can remain perfect on home ice and move within one game of winning the best-of-seven CHL Ray Miron President’s Cup Final with a win later today in game four. Face-off is set for 5 pm CST at Intrust Bank Arena.
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