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Brampton special jerseys based on the Rendez-vous ’87 jerseys in Sunday’s game against Wichita, March 8, 2015.

The Wichita Thunder came back from a huge 4-1 deficit in the 2nd period and tied the game late in the 3rd on Women’s Hockey Day in Brampton, however the Brampton Beast prevailed in the shootout with a 5-4 win. The positive news is that the Thunder add another much-needed point in what is shaping up to be a very tightly contested playoff race in the Central Division.

Tim Boron returned to the Thunder following his release from the Rochester Americans, and he started the game for the Thunder today. The Beast’s Chad Painchaud was still out with a possible concussion after being hit by his own player in practice.

Brampton started the game with a strong sense of purpose, seeking revenge for Friday night’s loss in overtime. Wichita had an early powerplay opportunity however the Thunder were unable to capitalize. Brampton was playing well defensively, and the Thunder had no clean entries into the zone. As the period progressed the Thunder were able to create more chances, with some great pressure on Brampton, and finally at 7:01 Eric Meland fired a shot from the point to beat Trevor Cann. A short time later it was Brampton’s turn at 8:30 when Jeff Brown scored his first professional goal to tie the game 1-1. Just over a minute later at 9:43 Brampton’s David Ling scored to put the Beast ahead 2-1 for the 1st period. Shots on goal for the 1st were 8-7 for Wichita.

The 2nd period started with a new Brampton goaltender in net as Ryan DeMelo came in to relieve Trevor Cann who was possibly injured at the end of the 1st when players crashed into the net. Wichita had some nice opportunities in the early 2nd however it was Brampton who scored first at 2:30 with a goal from Jason Pitton. Less than a minute later at 3:24 Brampton’s Justin Donati beat Boron shortside to take the lead 4-1.

Down 4-1 the Wichita Thunder made a goalie change replacing Tim Boron for Grant Rollheiser — this is a first for the season for the Wichita Thunder. Up until today Coach McClelland had not pulled a goalie this season for giving up too many goals in a game. There have been two instances where two Thunder goalies played in one game, however it happened during line brawls and Tyler Bunz was penalized for leaving his net (Dec. 7, 2014 Wichita at Elmira) or fighting (Jan. 3, 2015 Wichita at Missouri).

With Rollheiser in net the Thunder forged ahead, and at 4:20 RG Flath scored off a bouncing puck to cut Brampton’s lead in half at 4-2. Later in the 2nd at 15:35 the Thunder struck once again with a goal from Dan Milan, his first of the season, to cut Brampton’s lead even more, 4-3. Shots on goal for the 2nd were 11-9 in favor of Brampton.

Wichita had some great chances and good pressure in the 3rd, along with a number of excellent saves from Rollheiser, dominating the period as they attempted to at least tie the game. Brampton’s goalie DeMelo was also settling in far better, stopping a number of good Thunder shots on goal. At 15:18 Brampton’s Thorne was called for interference and Wichita went on a powerplay, however the Beast were playing excellent defense, clearing their zone, allowing the Thunder no shots on goal. Finally with two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game, just a few seconds after Brampton’s penalty ended, Wichita’s Todd Hosmer scored to tie the game.  The period ended with 11-8 shots on goal for Wichita, tied 4-4.

Overtime produced very little as far as offense for either team with only one shot on goal for each resulting in a shootout. Brampton’s David Ling and Bobby Hughes would score for the Beast and Ian Lowe would score for the Thunder in the five rounds giving the Beast the win, 5-4. This was Rollheiser’s first shootout loss of the season.

Per Team Time Goals
1st WIC 7:01 E. Meland (assists M. Wilson, E. Lizon)
1st BRM 8:30 J. Brown (assists B. Hughes, J. Pitton)
1st BRM 9:43 D. Ling (assists B. Lyon, J. Donati)
2nd BRM 2:30 J. Pitton (assists J. Brown, B. Hughes)
2nd BRM 3:24 J. Donati (assists S. Thorne, T. Fawcett)
2nd WIC 4:20 R. Flath (assists D. Gauthier, J. Bernhardt)
2nd WIC 15:35 D. Milan (assists T. Hosmer, N. Kashirsky)
3rd WIC 17:21 T. Hosmer (assists N. Kashirsky, D. Milan)

Team Notes: The Thunder’s Powerplay has been excellent the past couple of games. Postgame today the Thunder’s powerplay is at 17.2% (ranked 11th in the league), compared to their low back in February of 14.9%. In Wichita’s games from February 27th the team has had seven powerplay goals including three powerplay goals in their March 1st game against Allen.

Ian Duval left the ice in the last half of the 2nd period and never returned. It is unclear what his condition is at this time. Kenton Miller remains on 21-day IR (March 2).

Brampton, despite their record this season, can really surprise teams, especially in their offensive game, and there is nothing better for a team in this position than to be a spoiler.

It is always great to see a men’s professional hockey team honor International Women’s Day, and today the Beast hosted the Brampton Thunder team from the Canadian Women’s Hockey League to show “their appreciation towards the women in their fight for equality.” Nicely done, Brampton!

The Thunder return to face the Brampton Beast again tomorrow at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. EST).