The Thunder allowed the game’s first four goals Wednesday night and never recovered, losing to Rio Grande Valley 5-2 in the third game of their first-round CHL playoff series in Hidalgo, Texas.
Wichita holds a 2-1 lead in the series. Game 4 is tonight in Texas, and Game 5 will be Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Killer Bees led 2-0 after the opening period, then scored twice in the first 45 seconds of the second period to blow open the game. Dan Gendur’s slap shot beat Thunder goalie Adam Russo at the 12-second mark. Russo was replaced Bryan Hogan, then Rio Grande’s Aaron Lee scored past Hogan from the right circle at 45 seconds.
Kevin Young and Dustin Donaghy scored the Thunder’s goals. The Killer Bees completed the scoring with an empty-net goal.
Rio Grande has scored first in each of the series’ first three games. Killer Bees goalie John Murray made 11 saves in each of the final two periods.
Rio Grande 5, Wichita 2
First period — 1, Rio, Pearson (Carlson, Lineker), 11:12. 2, Rio, Carlson (Dixon). Penalties — none.
Second period — 3, Rio, Gendur (Klempa), :12. 4, Rio, Lee (Leavold, Dixon), :45. 5, Wichita, Young (Bembridge, Beauregard), 5:27. Penalties — Donaghy, Wichita (fighting), 4:38; Boogaard, Rio (fighting), 4:38; Mohr, Wichita (slashing), 8:15; Flath, Wichita (slashing), 9:28.
Third period — 6, Wichita, Donaghy (Greene, Lizon), 12:37. 7, Rio, Lee (Leavold), 19:49 (en). Penalties — Flath, Wichita (slashing), 7:11; Lineker, Rio (interference), 15:10.
Power plays — Wichita 0 for 1, Rio Grand 0 for 3.
Shots — Wichita 9-12-12—33; Rio Grande 11-14-4—29.
Saves — Wichita, Russo 12 shots, 9 saves, Hogan 16-15; Rio Grande, Murray 33-31.
Referee — Mark-Andre Lavoie. Linesmen — John Grandt, Bill McGoldrick.
T — 2:27. A — 2,001.