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What a night for the Wichita Thunder! With 19 seconds left in overtime Kirill Tulupov scored the game-winning-goal to gain the much-needed two points in the playoff race to move the Thunder back into a 4th place tie with the Tulsa Oilers. What an incredible finish for a team who had traveled to Texas earlier that day and had not even had time to check into their hotel prior to the game.

Facing the Allen Americans always makes for a great game and last night’s game was perhaps one of the best from the Wichita Thunder. Wichita played very well defensively, with great pressure and puck possession. The Thunder maintained good control for the majority of the game and dominated in overtime.

And by the way, Todd Hosmer’s penalty slash late in the 3rd period seems to have not been declared a penalty shot since Allen’s player was able to get a shot on goal.

At 6:25 into the 1st period the Thunder’s Eric Meland scored on a powerplay as Allen’s Riley Gill was caught out of position. Just over a minute later at 7:30 Allen capitalized on their powerplay as Gary Steffes scored off a pass from Chad Costello to tie the game. Shots on goal for the 1st were 9-7 for Wichita. Score: 1-1

Wichita struck very quickly at 20 seconds into the 2nd when Danick Gauthier’s great patience (along with a nice toe-drag) paid off for the Thunder to put them back up 2-1. In the back-and-forth game it was only a matter of time before Allen’s Chad Costello scored at 5:48 to tie the game once again. At 11:09 Thunder’s Gauthier scored his 2nd goal of the night after a steal on the faceoff to take the lead once again, however at 14:05 Allen’s Jamie Schaafsma scored off a rebound (and no Thunder coverage in front of the net) to even it up. Later in the 2nd following Dan Milan’s cross-checking penalty, Allen’s Patrik Valcak scored his first goal of the season on the powerplay. Shots on goal for the 2nd were 11-11, with five goals. Score 4-3 Allen.

Wichita started the 3rd with a change of goaltenders with Grant Rollheiser replacing Tim Boron in net. The Thunder opened on a powerplay but were unable to capitalize. At midway into the 3rd at 10:01 Mike Wilson tied the game on the powerplay, beating Gill after a nice feed across the slot from Todd Hosmer. The Thunder played a great first half of the 3rd period, however Allen’s pressure ramped up for the remainder of the period, and Wichita’s luck, great saves by Rollheiser and very nice defensive work by the Thunder kept them tied to the buzzer. Shots on goal for the 3rd were 17-14 for Allen. Score 4-4.

Wichita had a couple of good chances in overtime as the Thunder did a great job at keeping Allen to the outside. At 4:41 — with only 19 seconds remaining — Thunder’s defenseman Kirill Tulupov fired a wrister from the blueline to score the game-winning-goal. Shots on goal for OT were 4-2 Thunder. Score: 5-4 in OT.

Period Team Time Goals
1st WIC 6:25 E. Meland (assists T. Hosmer, M. Wilson) – PP
1st ALN 7:30 G. Steffes (assists C. Costello, T. Ludwig) – PP
2nd WIC 0:20 D. Gauthier (assist E. Meland)
2nd ALN 5:48 C. Costello (assists K. Young, J. Schaafsma)
2nd WIC 11:09 D. Gauthier
2nd ALN 14:05 J. Schaafsma (assists G. Steffes, A. Gens)
2nd ALN 18:49 P. Valcak (assist C. Costello) – PP
3rd WIC 10:01 M. Wilson (assists T. Hosmer, I. Lowe) – PP
OT WIC 4:41 K. Tulupov (assist D. Gauthier)

Three Stars:
1. WIC – Kirill Tulupov
2. ALN – Chad Costello
3. WIC – Danick Gauthier

Noteworthy: Last night’s game-winning-goal was Kirill Tulupov’s 7th goal of the season for 17th points overall, a professional career high for the defensive defenseman.

Allen Americans Chad Costello’s goal and assist pushed him past 100 points for the season. Costello is firmly at the top of the ECHL points leaders with 101 points.

The Allen Americans need one more point to clinch a playoff spot in the Central Division.

The Wichita Thunder return tonight for another exciting matchup against the Allen Americans in Allen.

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