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How do you evaluate a team’s 7-4 loss and still find positives without being overwhelmed by the negative? It is fairly easy, given that the Thunder have some nice positives to their game, despite the high scoring loss. Last night seemed like a culmination of more of their negatives however, particularly when combined with Tulsa’s outstanding opportunistic play and their keen ability to regain puck possession which can really hurt a team.

The Negatives:

Another lackluster 1st period again for the Thunder and although the SOG for the 1st are recorded at 13-10 for Tulsa, Wichita’s SOG did not move above 3 until well into the last 3 to 4 minutes of the 1st period and not surprisingly that coincides with the time Ian Lowe scored the first Wichita goal. By that point Tulsa was already up by 2 goals in the first.

Thunder’s man-on-man coverage is creating some huge gaping holes in front of their net at times that has allowed opponents to score very easily, as witnessed by Tulsa’s first 2 goals last night.

The last 2 games have been very rough on the Thunder goalies — both have had some giveaway moments that should not have happened, either through being out of position, slow reaction time, or just loss of focus. They certainly are not to be blamed for the full loss — there is plenty of blame to be shared with the team.

The Thunder have to limit their penalties. They gave Tulsa 9 opportunities on the Powerplay last night and Tulsa scored on 3 of those 9 chances. Nine chances are far too many to be giving to an opponent, especially an offensive opponent such as Tulsa.

I would love to see a power forward type of player park themselves in front of the net and utilize their skill and size to muscle some rebounds in for the Thunder. The Thunder have some great SOG tallies, but if they could capitalize on far more of their rebounds, they would be very hard to beat. We saw this play out on Wichita’s 2nd goal with a shot from Tulupov to the net that was blocked and rebounded — Lowe and Gauthier were in deep and Gauthier nabbed the loose puck to put it in the net.  This needs to happen ALL the time.

The Positives:

Powerplay Goals — the Thunder capitalized on 2 of their 6 powerplay opportunities — a third of the overall, which is good news.

Related to my power forward remark above, the Thunder had some nice rebound plays in front of the net last night that contributed to Thunder goals both on the PP and also 5-on-5 play. They just need MORE.

What makes the Thunder play such a lackluster, slow 1st period and then come out in the 2nd playing hard with such passion? I would dearly love to know what goes on during that 1st intermission. Whatever it is, the team needs far more of it! The Thunder outshot the Oilers 19-9 in the 2nd and scored two goals. (Tulsa unfortunately scored 3 goals off of those 9 SOG.)

Great SOG averages lately — the Thunder had 41 SOG last night. They are creating lots of possibilities. Now they just have to get in there to finish those scoring opportunities with some real goals.

Period Team Time Goals
1st TUL 6:01 D. Fisher (assists J. Jubinville, D. Pszenyczny) — PP
1st TUL 6:50 K. O’Kane (assists J. Booras, T. Caig)
1st WIC 18:41 I. Lowe (assists K. Miller, T. Hosmer)
2nd WIC 2:48 D. Gauthier (assists R. Flath, K. Tulupov)  — PP
2nd TUL 5:29 J. Booras (assists S. Macaulay, T. Caig)
2nd TUL 5:49 S. Mele (assists T. Mele, C. Lachance)
2nd WIC 11:34 I. Lowe (assists K. Miller, I. Duval)
2nd TUL 17:01 S. Macaulay (assists T. Caig, D. Pszenyczny) — PP
3rd WIC 5:44 M. Wilson (assists N. Kashirsky, D. Gauthier) — PP
3rd TUL 10:06 A. Pleskach (assists N. Lutz, D. Fisher)
3rd TUL 18:05 A. Pleskach (assists D. Fisher, S. Macaulay) – PP

StoneWolf Casino Cup Series: 6-1-0-0 Tulsa  (Wichita 1-2-1-3)

The Thunder return home for two weekend games, first they face the Quad City Mallards on Friday at 7:05 p.m., and on Saturday the Rapid City Rush at 7:05 p.m. And don’t forget, Friday night is Union Night and Saturday is the annual Teddy Bear Toss and Toys for Tots. Learn more here.

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