Fulks, Thunder fly by Wings in OT, 18-17

Comeback gives hosts club-record 5th win in row

strain idles Gait in 2nd half

January 31, 1999|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Kip Fulks got a step on the field with the score tied and the Thunder and Philadelphia Wings battling before 10,125 delirious fans last night when he got a lead pass from Rod Tapp.

A shot and a goal, and the Thunder had a sensational 18-17 victory to run its record to 5-0 while handing the defending league champion Wings their fourth straight defeat. For better and worse, both are franchise records.

Chris Sanderson, who had a strong second half in goal for the victors, had just made a stop and pushed the ball ahead to Tapp when Fulks got free.

"In overtime, what you're looking to do is get a break, take a chance," Fulks said. "Because if you don't go at them [the Wings], they're going to come at you."

As much of a thrill as it was for Fulks to score the winning goal on a blistering shot, which found its way through Philadelphia goalie Dallas Eliuk's legs, so too was the huge and enthusiastic crowd.

"Biggest crowd in 10 years, that's fantastic," he hollered. "I think they're taking to us and the game. We got to the championship game last year and we're unbeaten this year. I think people are coming to realize we have the best guys playing this game."

It was the Thunder's second straight one-goal victory and was accomplished despite an 18-minute scoring drought in mid-game and the second-half absence of top scorer Gary Gait due to a strain in his lower abdominal area. He will be X-rayed tomorrow.

"I don't know what we have to do to win," said Wings coach Tony Resch. "Whatever it is, I hope we find it soon. That's a good team we lost to, but we had our chances.

"It's just that they found a way to convert and we didn't. We seemed to let it slip away right after the fight, uh, altercation, in the third period."

There was a scramble behind the Baltimore goal featuring Brian Reese of the Thunder and Tom Marechek of the Wings, and pushing, shoving, grabbing face masks and so on ensued. Both were hit with 10 minutes in penalties, and were ejected.

"They lost their 15th player," said Resch, "and we lost our top scorer. But this one we can't blame on the officiating; we had our chances. They had a guy step up in overtime and we didn't.

"But I'll tell you, I've seen guys do much worse than that and not get thrown out of the ballgame. That hurt, especially when they turned around and scored three quick goals to get back in it."

The Thunder trailed 12-8, when Reese and Marechek departed. In quick order, Jesse Hubbard, Joe Hiltz and Tim Hormes found the back of the net and Baltimore was back in business.

Philly had scored four straight goals and six of seven beginning with the second period.

Baltimore, which led 7-6 after the first period, just could not penetrate the Philadelphia defense for the longest time, Fulks explaining, "the Wings are a very physical team and they play hard off the ball. It takes some experience before you know how to get through to the middle."

Marechek had scored three goals and assisted on another when he was told his services were no longer required. Reese, a role player, had done his job.

Gait had three goals and an assist in his half of play.

Pub Date: 1/31/99

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