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Wichita Thunder

The Wichita Thunder lost a tough game against the Allen Americans yesterday afternoon. You can point to a multitude of reasons for the loss — Thunder players exhausted from a tough win against Quad City the night before and their late overnight bus trip to Allen involving wintry snow and ice, as well as their slow start at generating shots on goal yesterday afternoon. You can also talk about their lack of offense and their numerous penalties, but you should also give full credit to the Allen Americans, a very tough opponent on any given day.

There were certainly some positives — let’s not overlook some solid defensive play by the Thunder, some great saves, blocked shots, hits and takeaways. And what about Ian Duval? His solid yet unflashy play is beginning to turn heads — he plays smart hockey, quietly creating plays that have paid off. He now has 2 goals, with 13 assists and 32 shots on goal. Not bad for a fellow who started his professional career in late November!

And what about Nikita Kashirsky? Kashirsky’s November was outstanding with 5 goals and 4 assists, but since then Kashirsky has hit a bit of a lull until yesterday afternoon. The thing that first impressed me about Kashirsky at the beginning of this season was his speed as he hooked a puck on a breakaway and buckled down for a quick low dash to the net. He can easily beat 80% of the players he faces, but why the slowdown? Changing linemates? Wichita’s early roster moves? Whatever the reason, it was great to see Kashirsky in action once again. He now has 6 goals, 8 assists and 68 shots on goal so far this season. No turning back this time, Nikita!

This was Tyler Bunz’s first game since he was called up to the AHL’s OKC Barons on December 17th to backup Laurent Brossoit while Richard Bachman was out injured. Yesterday he had some outstanding saves, stopping 35 of 38 shots on goal, however with this defeat he picked up his 7th loss of the season. With Bachman and Brossoit playing well and healthy in OKC let’s hope that the situation will now allow Bunz to return to regular play in Wichita. He’s only played a total of 12 games so far this season and he really needs some consistent playing time.

The team’s loss yesterday broke their recent 4-game win streak, but they are still ranked 2nd in the Central Division with 37 points. The Thunder are tied with Quad City in points but have a game-in-hand which gives them a better points percentage.

Per Team Time Goals
2nd ALN 1:08 R. Schwartz (assists T. Ludwig, J. Baker)
2nd WIC 9:58 I. Duval (assists I. Lowe, E. Meland)
2nd ALN 11:44 K. Follmer (assists J. Messier, J. Baker)
2nd ALN 15:50 T. Ludwig (assists C. Costello, A. Gens) — PP
3rd WIC 12:56 N. Kashirsky (assists R. Flath, T. Hosmer)

The Wichita Thunder head to Moline, IL to play the Quad City Mallards on Wednesday, Jan. 7th and again on Friday, Dec. 9th before returning home to host the Evansville IceMen, their second non-Central Division team of the season, on Saturday and Sunday.