INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Wichita Thunder beat the Missouri Mavericks 5-3 at the Independence Events Center on Saturday night.
A.J. Gale scored twice, while Troy Schwab scored the game-winning goal with 2:33 left in regulation. It marked Wichita's first regulation win at the Independence Events Center in 10 games over the last two seasons.
Tied at 3-3 in the third, Brent Cullaton backhanded a pass from the left corner out to the crease where Schwab backhanded it past the left of Mavericks' goaltender Gerry Festa for the go-ahead goal. Matt Robinson sealed the game with an empty netter at 19:40.
For a second straight night, the Mavericks used an early goal to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Ryan Jardine wristed a shot past Kevin Beech 39 seconds into the game after taking a pass from Steven Later. Aaron Davis tied it for Wichita at 10:37, ripping a shot from the left circle that Festa deadened, but could not stop from trickling through his five-hole. Missouri re-gained the lead at 13:04 on a two-man advantage when Ray DiLauro scored on a one-timer from the right circle.
Mike Wakita scored from the left boards at 8:48 in the second to give Missouri a 3-1 lead, but Gale scored consecutive goals at 9:44 and 17:06 to tie the game. Gale's first goal came on a backdoor pass that originated from Daniel Tetrault at the point, with Gale shooting past Festa's right. The second came during a Thunder power play with Gale driving to the net and lifting the puck over Festa's left shoulder before being hauled down in front of the crease.
Kevin Beech stopped 22 of 25 for the win. Festa was 25 of 29 in the loss. The win pulls the Thunder within two points of both Missouri and Bloomington for third place in the Turner Conference playoff race.
Wichita was 2 for 5 on the power play and has scored two power play goals in three consecutive games. Missouri was 1 for 7 on the man advantage.
Prior to the game, Lance Galbraith and Mike Looby were placed on the 10-Day IR. Jason Goulet was activated from the 10-Day IR, while Cullaton returned from team suspension.
The Thunder and Mavericks play for a third straight game in Independence again on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.