WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Jr. Thunder won the 2017 Thorne Cup championship game this weekend with a 4-3 win over the Idaho Jr. Steelheads.
It is the first ever Western States Hockey League championship for Wichita – and interrupted Idaho’s attempt at a three-peat.
Idaho’s Jonathan Karlsson scored the only goal of the first period, but the Jr. Thunder scored three unanswered goals in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Peter Cicmanec’s first two goals were sandwiched around a tally by veteran blue liner Alex Smith.
Lance Herning got the Jr. Steelheads within a goal at 6:28 of the third period, but Wichita’s Erik Spath made some key saves to protect the Jr. Thunder lead.
Cicmanec’s third goal came with 8:42 left on the clock and gave Wichita some breathing room that they would end up needing.
Idaho’s Rei Kikuchi scored with just over six minutes left in the game to get the Jr. Steelheads back within a goal but Spath, who made 14 of his 35 saves in the final frame, would not allow another puck to get past him and the Jr. Thunder had a historic victory.