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After Jeffrey Lutz (of The Wichita Eagle) posted this on Twitter last night I asked him if he REALLY felt that last night’s game was better than the previous three. After comparing a few thoughts about it (I sit nearby in the pressbox), and while I could debate it at great length, I’ve come to the conclusion that he makes a very good point. The Thunder had some major “train wrecks” in last night’s game, however overall there were enough positives in the game that allowed them to win 3-1 against the top ranked team in the Central Division. That’s the great news from last night’s game.

Last night’s game is a lot like goals — some goals are Henrik and Daniel Sedin beautiful — pure Sedinery, skillful and sharp, and stunningly brilliant in their execution. Others are “greasy”or “dirty”– pure hard work and not terribly pretty, but they get the job done and you finally manage to push that puck into the net while sliding, slipping, and battling hard all the way. That is exactly how the Thunder managed to win last night’s game. It wasn’t pretty, nor terribly skillful. It was much more about opportunities and hard, tough play, battling through when every second counts. So in the end,  yes — the Thunder proved that regardless of how ugly the game might be, they could win against a top ranked team and they succeeded in breaking the American’s 8-game winning streak.

Justifiably the first star of the game went to Edmonton Oilers prospect goaltender Tyler Bunz who played an outstanding game allowing only 1 goal on 34 shots from the Allen Americans. And to be brutally honest, that first goal was not even an Allen shot-on-goal — it was accidentally pushed into Bunz’s net by his own defenseman Mike Wilson in a sad twist of fate, and from the benefit of hindsight, it breaks Bunz’s 2-game shutout streak on home turf. After the goal Bunz gave Wilson an encouraging “pat” with his stick — a hockey player’s way of saying “It’s okay. Let’s move on.” Allen’s goal, the first of the night for the game, was given to Trevor Ludwig (with assists to Aaron Gens and Jamie Schaafsma) at 11:31 into the 1st period.

The Wichita Thunder got on the board early in the 2nd period at 2:01 with a goal by Kenton Miller, assisted by Nikita Kashirsky and Ian Lowe.

At 8:16 into the 2nd, the game-winning goal was scored by birthday boy Erick Lizon from a rebound, with assists from Jared Walker and Ian Duval.

At 16:29 into the 3rd, Danick Gauthier scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway, assisted by Theo Peckham and RG Flath.

Shots on Goal:

SHOTS 1 2 3 T
Allen 12 13 9 34
Wichita 9 13 8 30

Penalties:

PP PIM
Allen 0 / 5 17 min / 7 inf
Wichita 0 / 5 17 min / 7 inf

Three Stars of the Game:
1. WIC – Tyler Bunz
2. WIC – Erick Lizon
3. WIC – Danick Gauthier

The next test for the Thunder comes this afternoon as they face the offensively opportunistic Tulsa Oilers. The Thunder will have to play far more disciplined defensive hockey against the Oilers, but they are very capable of doing just that as we’ve seen.

Wichita Thunder finish off the weekend this afternoon hosting the Tulsa Oilers at 5:05 p.m.

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