Down a goal as the third period started, the Thunder needed some luck.
But it wasn’t so much luck the Thunder got, but goals by Matt Robinson and Chris Chappell were enough to make St. Patrick’s Day end on a high note as Wichita pinched the Arizona Sundogs 2-1 at Intrust Bank Arena.
"It was really kind of a slow game," Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. "(Arizona) did a great job of slowing us down and clogging the neutral zones."
Matched against a struggling Arizona team it had beaten twice this season, the Thunder couldn’t get much offense going in the first two periods.
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It wasn’t so much getting shots — Wichita (42-16-3) had a 21-14 shots advantage to that point — but just getting some kind of shot past goalkeeper Mike Spillane. Arizona’s last line of defense finished with 38 saves.
"We weren’t getting the shots we needed," McClelland said. "(In the third period) we started skating."
Arizona (17-36-9) struggled on the offensive end as well, but the Sundogs were able to get the first goal with 13:53 in the second period on a shot by Adam Smyth.
"We needed to pressure them," Robinson said. "We knew they’ve had a hard season, but we couldn’t take them lightly. After our first goal we started to figure it out.
"It was a good comeback for us."
The Thunder scored its first goal with 12:22 remaining, when Robinson was able to get a shot past Spillane from close range.
"We needed something and Matt (Summers) was able to hit me with a great pass," Robinson said.
With seven minutes to play, Arizona was unable to take advantage of the Thunder being down a man. Wichita made it pay when, at even strength, Arizona’s Kyle Hood went to the penalty box for high sticking.
Chappell took a loose puck and scored from close in with 2:05 to go.
The Thunder will see Arizona again tonight at Intrust Bank Arena.
0 1 0 — 1Wichita 0 0 2 — 2
First Period— 1, Arizona, Smyth (Erickson, Toy) 6:07. Penalties — Erickson, Az, (high sticking) 16:29; Ericson, Az, (unsportsmanlike conduct) 16:29.
Second Period — No scoring. Penalties — Wight, W (tripping) 14:20; O’Nabigon, Az (hooking) 17:02.
Third Period — 2, Wichita, Robinson (Summers, Greene) 7:38. 3, Wichita, Chappell (Robinson, Summers) 17:55 (pp). Penalties — Sawyer, W (hooking) 11:10; Hood, Az, 16:17; Mohr, W (elbowing) 18:31.
Power plays — Arizona 0-2, Wichita 1-5.
Shots — Arizona 5-9-13—27; Wichita 9-12-19—40.
Goalies — Arizon, Spillane, 40 shots, 38 saves; Wichita, Russo 27-26.
Referee — Brent Coulombe. Linesmen — Kyle DeMaggio, Shawn Morgan.