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Wichita Thunder

November 11: Wichita 3 at Rapid City 6

Tuesday’s game in Rapid City was all about the Rush and the troublesome Thunder’s Penalty Kill which up to now had been doing very well. Before the Rapid City games the Thunder’s PK was ranked No. 8 in the league with an 87.5% success rate. After the Rapid City games the Thunder are now ranked a dismal and disappointing 23rd, with a 77.4% success rate.

Rapid City’s first three goals were on the powerplay while facing Thunder’s primary penalty kill unit, with a few variations — 6 18 24 41; 6 13 16 24; 6 13 24 28.  In the end, the Rush capitalized on 3 of their 4 powerplay chances, something that the Thunder can never allow again if they wish to be playing in the post season.

Rush’s goalie Wayne Savage was hard to beat Tuesday even though the Thunder outshot the Rush 35 to 26 for the night.

The Good News: Thunder’s Kurtis Bartliff has started to demonstrate some of the skill that I witnessed last season, as he scored Thunder’s first goal of the night (and his first goal with the Thunder) while sliding down the ice to beat Rush’s Savage on the blocker side. It is also great to see R.G. Flath back in action this season as he scored the Thunder’s 3rd goal of the night (and his first goal this season). The Thunder capitalized on a powerplay when Danick Gauthier scored on Thunder’s second goal of the night.

November 12: Wichita 3 at Rapid City 2

Wednesday night was all about the Wichita Thunder and Nikita Kashirsky’s two bookend goals. Tied going into the third period, Thunder’s Stephen Schultz had the game winner when he scored at 9:49 with a pass behind the goal line that deflected off Rush’s Battochio into the net. Edmonton Oilers prospect Tyler Bunz was in goal for the Thunder and earned his first Thunder win with 21 saves on 23 shots on goal.

The Thunder’s PK unit once again allowed a Rush powerplay goal (6 18 24 61), however this time the Rush was only successful for 1 of their 3 powerplay chances of the night.

The Good News: Wichita continued to outshoot the Rush 31 to 23; on Tuesday Wichita outshot the Rush 35-26. This was Wichita’s first road win of the season and also their first win after a 4-game winless streak. Just before the Rapid City roadtrip the Wichita Thunder’s powerplay was ranked 19th in the league with a 14.7% success rate (moving up from No. 22), and now following the roadtrip the Thunder are ranked 17th in the league with a 15.4% success rate. The team’s overall possession looked far better, with a number of nice controlled passes and hits to regain control throughout the game. Tyler Bunz now in his 3rd game with the Thunder is looking much more comfortable and solid in net with a 1-1-0-1 record for the season.

Wichita Thunder: 3-4-1-1 – ranked 5th in Central Division
Rapid City Rush: 5-5-0-1 – ranked 1st in Central Division

The Wichita Thunder will play again on Saturday night as they face the Allen Americans at 7:05 p.m. The Thunder will host Missouri on Sunday at 5:05 p.m.