Alex Bourret scored three goals and assisted on the fourth as the Thunder beat Rio Grande Valley 4-2 on Thursday night in Hidalgo, Texas, in the fourth game of their opening-round CHL playoff series.
The victory gave the Thunder a 3-1 edge in the best-of-7 series. Game 5 is Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Killer Bees scored the first goal, as they have in every game of the series. The Thunder outshot the Bees 21-6 in the first period, but almost had nothing to show for it.
Bourret’s first goal — the first of two shorthanded goals for Wichita — came with 28 seconds left in the first period and tied the score 1-1.He scored again 29 seconds into the second period to put the Thunder ahead. Then he set up R.G. Flath’s goal at 3:00 as Wichita was killing another penalty.
Rio Grande pulled within 3-2 when Dan Gendur scored an unassisted goal at 9:07 of the second, but Wichita’s defense shut down Rio Grande the rest of the way.
Bourret’s empty-net goal at 19:47 completed his hat trick and sealed the win.
Adam Russo was back in goal for the Thunder after being pulled from Wedneday night’s loss and made 22 saves.
Wichita 4, Rio Grande 2
First period — 1, Rio Grande, Leavold (Gendur, Wilson), 10:20 (pp). 2, Wichita, Bourret (Chappell, Wight), 19:32 (pp). Penalties — Bourret, Wichita (roughing), 1:41; Boogaard, Rio (interference), 1:41; Boogaard, Rio(roughing), 1:41; Tetrault, Wichita (slashing), 8:58; Greene, Wichita (slashing), 8:58; Carlson, Rio (roughing), 13:30; Greene, Wichita (roughing), 16:47; Balan, Rio (roughing double minor), 16:47; Flath, Wichita (slashing), 18:03.
Second period — 3, Wichita, Bourret (Beauregard), :29. 4, Wichita, Flath (Bourret), 3:00 (sh). 5, Rio Grande, Gendur, 9:07. Penalties — Seibel, Wichita (boarding); Boogaard, Rio (high sticking), 14:32; Flath, Wichita (high sticking), 14:51; Robinson, Wichita (tripping), 15:43; Gendur, Rio (high sticking), 19:53.
Third period — 6, Wichita, Bourret, 19:47 (en). Penalty — Mohr, Wichita (tripping), 17:35.
Power plays — Wichita 0 for 5, Rio Grande 1 for 7.
Shots — Wichita 21-12-9—42, Rio Grande 6-9-9—24.
Goalies — Wichita, Russo, 24 shots-22 saves; Rio Grande, Murray, 41-38.
Referee — Brent Coulumbe. Linesmen — John Grandt, Bill McGoldrick.
T — 2:21. A — 3,089.