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Wichita ThunderIn Kevin McClelland’s 600th game as a coach the Wichita Thunder’s defense played a starring role in their defeat of the Missouri Mavericks, 4-1. Missouri started the game aggressively, outshooting the Thunder for much of the 1st period, overwhelming the Thunder for a while. Gradually the Thunder settled down to play much more defensively, applying great pressure to Missouri throughout the 1st and 2nd periods.

At 11:12 into the first, Thunder’s Erick Lizon caught a rebound and shot it past Missouri’s new goaltender Maxime Lagace for Wichita’s first goal of the night (assists by Ian Duval and Jared Walker). This was Lizon’s third goal of the season, and while Lizon is primarily known for his fights and agitator role, he is capable of making an impact in more important ways such as scoring!

Wichita continued their 1st period push against Missouri with an onslaught of shots on goal and at 17:27 Nikita Kashirsky tipped in a rebound from Mike Wilson’s shot off the post to put the Thunder up 2-0 (assists by Mike Wilson and Kenton Miller).  By the end of the 1st period Wichita had outshot Missouri 12-8.

The chippy play that started at the end of the 1st set the tone and carried over into the 2nd. Wichita piled up 28 penalty minutes in the 2nd — roughing (Milan), roughing (Walker), fighting (Lizon), misconduct (Trebish), roughing (Tulupov) and fighting (Tulupov); and Missouri picked up 32 penalty minutes — roughing (Brittain), roughing (Crane), delay (Sparks), misconduct (Crane), fighting (Lee), fighting (Brittain), holding (Courtney), slashing (Geoffrion), disputing decision (Coach, Richard Matvichuk). And somewhere amidst all of the kerfuffles, roughing and fighting, the Thunder’s Ian Lowe rebounded a shot to put the Thunder up 3-0 on a powerplay (assists by Danick Gauthier and RG Flath).

Wichita had outshot Missouri 11-3 in the 2nd period, but the 3rd period was all Missouri. The Mavericks undeniably controlled the 3rd, outshooting the Thunder 11-3, maintaining almost complete puck possession. At 1:05 into the 3rd the Maverick’s new forward Jack Downing put Missouri on the board 3-1 (with assists from Sebastian Geoffrion and Alex Lepkowski). Halfway into the 3rd Wichita had not even taken a shot on goal, however at 11:16 Todd Hosmer scored after a great setup by the Thunder (with assists by Danick Gauthier and Eric Meland) to increase their lead and ultimately win the game at 4-1. Total SOG for the game: 26-22 Wichita.

While this was not an overwhelmingly outstanding game for the Thunder, they are continuing to push their strong defensive play which has completely overwhelmed Missouri and Quad City recently. The question of whether Wichita can begin to apply this same defensive pressure against Allen and Tulsa will be answered this weekend. Good luck, Thunder!

Wichita is now 4-1-0-0 in the Independence Cup Series against Missouri.

Wichita will face the Allen Americans tonight in Wichita at 7:05 p.m.