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Friday, July 25, 2014

Thunder takes series in OT

By MARK WRIGHT
Special to The Eagle

Wichita forward Matt Robinson knocked in a rebound 4:44 into overtime for a series-clinching 3-2 victory Monday night against the Brahmas in front of 2,003 at NYTEX Sports Centre.

Wichita wins the Berry Conference finals 4-2 and advances to the CHL President’s Cup finals.

The Thunder will face the winner of the Turner Conference finals between Missouri and Fort Wayne. Missouri leads that series 3-2 heading into tonight’s Game 6.

Robinson’s unassisted goal was his second of the playoffs. Texas goalie Brad Fogal saved 25 of 28 Thunder shots in a losing effort.

“We end up getting a lucky bounce, which we really haven’t gotten all year,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. “So it was nice to get.”

The Brahmas, which began overtime on a power play after Wichita defenseman Jarred Mohr received a two-minute penalty with two seconds left in regulation, were 0-4 on the nightin power-play situations. But Texas had no shortage of chances, outshooting Wichita 34-28. for the game.

With 14:20 remaining in the third period, center Brendon Hodge beat Thunder goalie Adam Russo to tie the score 2-2.

Right winger Brett Findlay and defenseman Ross Rouleau assisted on the even-strength score, Hodge’s third goal of the playoffs. Russo led the Thunder with 32 saves.

“I tip my hat to the Texas Brahmas,” McClelland said. “They had some injuries on the back end. They didn’t make excuses. It was a hard-fought series.”

Wichita struck twice in the second, including a short-handed goal by forward Chris Greene with a little more than three minutes remaining in the period. It was the third goal of the playoffs for Greene, who rifled the puck past Brahmas goalie Brad Fogal for a 2-1 Thunder lead.

Wichita’s first goal came during a lengthy power play that began when defenseman Erik Spady received a seven-minute penalty – two minutes for instigating and five for fighting – with just under three minutes remaining in the first. The Thunder briefly had a two-man advantage because Spady’s penalty occurred when Fox was serving the final 54 seconds of a two-minute interference penalty.

Texas right winger Adam Hogg evened the score at 1 with an even-strength goal 4:20 into the second. Left winger Chad Woollard and Fox assisted on the goal, Hogg’s third of the postseason. The Brahmas’ equalizer came on the heels of a power-play goal by Thunder forward Chris Chappell, his fourth goal of the playoffs.

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