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Opening Faceoff 20150110_191152

The final score doesn’t accurately portray the game last night, but then again it was still a loss. Wichita’s goaltending was very shaky last night, their powerplay was nonexistent and their penalties gave Evansville the advantage far too often. In other words, the Thunder hurt themselves for much of that game giving Evansville the win.  And while neither team scored on their powerplays, both ended up with short-handed goals in the second period.

Coach McClelland summed up the game to Wichita Eagle’s Jeffrey Lutz, “We’re not scoring. Our power play can’t win us a game, and now it’s cost us a game with a short-handed goal-against. Our guys just have to execute better.”

A bad night for a goaltender happens — it’s part of the game — and everyone has a bad night here and there, but after two goals on eight shots Tim Boron should have been pulled, if nothing else for a mercy pull. He was clearly not on top of his game last night. But the loss cannot be all heaped on the goaltender. The rest of the team failed to capitalize on their three powerplays (dump and chase won’t cut it on the PP), spent far too much time in the box, and overall they need to be firing far more shots on goal.

The evening’s highlight was Erick Lizon’s “fight” in the second — a rather quick take-down of Randy Cure — which did in fact fire up the Thunder and likewise the crowd. As Coach McClelland told Jeffrey Lutz, “[Lizon] went out there and changed the complexion of the game and our guys got a little bit of a spark.”

Lizon catches a lot of flack from his style of play, but I have to admit that he is one of the best “showmen” in the game. He’s certainly shown that he has some skill this season, but he especially excels as a showman. Immediately after the fight he raised his arms, working the crowd who cheered wildly and as loudly as I’ve ever heard in Wichita’s arena. For just that moment, it was a loud, raucous Roman Coliseum cheering on their gladiator.

Wichita rallied, scoring 2 quick goals in the late 2nd to come back 3-4 after being down 1-4, but it was too little. Even as Wichita outshot Evansville 10-3 in the 3rd, they could not get a puck past the IceMen’s goaltender Chris Driedger. Evansville’s empty-netter late in the 3rd sealed Wichita’s fate — a 5-3 loss.

Period Team Time Goals
1st WIC 1:30 R. Flath (assist D. Gauthier)
1st EVN 15:16 J. Culek (2)
2nd EVN 2:36 D. Harris (assists B. Wong, G. Lepine)
2nd EVN 5:45 M. Lowry (assist D. Johnston) — SH
2nd EVN 9:16 P. Sakaris (assists D. Harris, T. Rutkowski)
2nd WIC 14:55 I. Duval (assists D. Milan, T. Granbois)
2nd WIC 15:33 J. Walker (assists I. Lowe, D. Milan) — SH
3rd EVN 19:16 J. Lukin (assists K. Kerbashian, J. McKenzie) — EN

Additional Notes: Wichita added right-handed defenseman Travis Granbois to the roster yesterday. He started out on the defensive lines last night, filling in for injured Dalton Reum, but he ended the game playing forward.

Following the game the team auctioned their special game-worn jerseys with the highest price going to Captain Ian Lowe for $1100 and the next highest to RG Flath at $1000. Well done, Thunder fans! (Thanks to Jeremy Struble for the prices.)

This afternoon Wichita has another shot at the Evansville IceMen — 5 p.m. This should be an interesting game! Be there!