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Wichita Thunder vs Allen Americans, March 1, 2015 (Photo courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)

Wichita Thunder vs Allen Americans, March 1, 2015 (Photo courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)

What a rough night in Wichita for the Thunder and their fans as they lose 6-4 to the Allen Americans. After a late 3rd period Thunder two-goal rally to bring the game within one, the Thunder thought they had tied the game with less than 35 seconds left in regulation with a goal by Nikita Kashirsky, however officials quickly ruled that the puck had crossed the line after the play had been whistled dead. ECHL Rules clearly state that once the whistle is blown any goal thereafter is deemed a “no goal” and disallowed.

78.5 Disallowed Goals – Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer for the following reasons:

(xii) When the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.

We can argue it all we want, however that little rule dictates that the officials on the ice have full control of that situation. What I would argue, and what the team and coach contends is that the whistle was blown far too quickly, but that won’t change the situation as well. Sadly Wichita’s 5th goal was a “no goal” and Allen ended with an empty netter for the 6-4 win.

All of that aside the Allen Americans is a very good team. Allen’s forechecking and backchecking are outstanding, allowing for very little leeway for opposing teams, however, even with all of that, it was a ten goal game. And surprisingly, it was a six powerplay goal game — three powerplay goals for each team. Unfortunately the ECHL does not maintain highest number of overall powerplay goal stats for a game — it would be interesting to see if this game fits anywhere near the top. (In the Allen vs Tulsa Oct. 24, 2014 game which had 15 goals scored, the game had 5 powerplay goals, two for Tulsa and three for Allen, and Toledo’s 12-0 win over Gwinnett only had one powerplay goal.)

We can talk about defensive issues for the Thunder, but you can’t forget to also mention the offensive issues last night. Breakdowns in the Thunder’s man-to-man coverage (which refers to five Thunder on-ice players in their own defensive zone) can wallop them upside the head at times. Every player in that situation has a responsibility and it just takes one misplay to create a breakdown. Coupled with that some of the forwards’ passing last night was just scattered, rushed and sloppy resulting in a number of giveaways as the puck ended up on Allen’s tape. The Thunder had 36 shots on goal last night, however not all of them were quality shots by any means. Two of the three top scorers for the Thunder were unable to score last night at all; Danick Gauthier, the team’s leading scorer had three assists but no goals, and Kenton Miller, the team’s third, had nothing. Without some of these issues the Thunder’s night would have been much different.

On the positive side the Thunder was able to rally late in the 3rd period with two goals which is huge for this team. There were also some great blocks by the defense at times, a couple of very nice saves by Boron, and a good number of outstanding offensive chances.

Per Team Time Goals
1st ALN 15:52 J. Schaafsma (assist N. Descoteaux)
1st ALN 18:53 G. Steffes (assists J. Schaafsma, T. Ludwig) – PP
2nd ALN 4:36 A. Gens (assists G. Steffes, C. Costello) – PP
2nd WIC 7:05 M. Wilson (assists D. Gauthier, I. Lowe) – PP
2nd WIC 7:57 R. Flath (assists E. Meland, D. Gauthier) – PP
2nd ALN 8:18 C. Costello (assists G. Hanson, P. Valcak)
2nd ALN 18:32 G. Hanson (assists A. Gens, J. Baker) – PP
3rd WIC 13:29 N. Kashirsky (assists J. Walker, K. Tulupov)
3rd WIC 19:00 I. Lowe (assists D. Gauthier, M. Wilson) – PP
3rd ALN 19:41 G. Steffes (assist P. Valcak) – EN

With last night’s loss the Thunder remain at 57 points in 5th place in the Central Division, just one point behind Tulsa and Rapid City with 58 points in 3rd and 4th. 

The Thunder face Rapid City Rush on Wednesday evening and seriously need a win to keep them in the playoff race.