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Thunder win 20150111_194722The Wichita Thunder played a very good game Sunday night and without the collision at the net that sent Tyler Bunz down onto the ice in the 3rd period the score might have even been more in the Thunder’s favor. Sunday night’s win was coach Kevin McClelland’s 162nd victory with the Wichita Thunder, breaking the previous Thunder bench record, and it was especially sweet against the Evansville IceMen after the Thunder’s loss to the IceMen the night before.

The Thunder got off to an excellent start in the 1st period dominating completely until Evansville was finally able to get a shot on goal during a Wichita penalty on Ian Lowe for holding at 6:29. Wichita held Evansville’s offense to a minimum ending the period with 18 shots on goal while Evansville only had 5.

The game remained scoreless until 13:29 into the 2nd when Wichita’s Ian Lowe scored off a feed from Jared Walker (assisted by Mike Wilson) to make it a 1-0 game for Wichita. Evansville soon tied the game at 18:59 with a goal from Brandon Wong (with assists from Zack Currie and Kale Kerbashian). Shots on goal for the 2nd were 11-10 for Evansville.

Wichita quickly regained the lead during a powerplay at 1:43 into the 3rd period with a goal by Ian Lowe, assisted by Mike Wilson and Kirill Tulupov, after a beautiful patient setup and tic-tac-toe play. Wichita continued their push at 4:39 with breakaway goal by Todd Hosmer (with assists from Ian Lowe and Kenton Miller) to put the Thunder up 3-1. Later a collision at the net sent Wichita’s goalie Tyler Bunz down to the ice, grabbing his lower leg in pain and halted the game. Tim Boron prepared to step in to replace him, but Bunz once back on his feet, testing his leg, opted to remain in the game. A short time later, Evansville quickly scored two goals within 22 seconds to tie the game. The first goal on a powerplay at 8:03 was scored by Matt Lowry (assisted by Jakub Culek and Brandon Wong), and the second at 8:22, scored by Brandon Wong (assisted by Kevin Harvey).

Following Evansville’s goals to tie the game, Todd Hosmer grabbed a puck from Lepine’s shot only to collide into the linesman who was blocking his path on a potential breakaway. About two minutes later Wichita finally broke the tie with a goal from Jared Walker (with assists from Nikita Kashirsky and Dan Milan) to put the Thunder up 4-3. Shots on goal for the 3rd were 15-10 for Evansville.

Tyler Bunz had been playing very well until the collision when it seemed to set him off his game for just a bit, but he quickly rebounded and settled down to finish the game without allowing anymore goals, even in the flurry of Evanville’s shots near the end of the game.  Bunz told Wichita Eagle’s Lutz, “I was playing well so I kind of wanted to battle that game out and see if I could get the win [….] No matter how many goals you let in, winning feels good.”

Wichita Thunder 4 – 3 Evansville IceMen. Total SOG: 38-31 for Wichita.

Per Team Time Goals
2nd WIC 13:29 I. Lowe (assists J. Walker, M. Wilson)
2nd EVN 18:57 B. Wong (assists Z. Currie, K. Kerbashian)
3rd WIC 1:43 I. Lowe (assists M. Wilson, K. Tulupov) — PP
3rd WIC 4:39 T. Hosmer (assists I. Lowe, K. Miller)
3rd EVN 8:03 M. Lowry (assists J. Culek, B. Wong) — PP
3rd EVN 8:22 B. Wong (assist K. Harvey)
3rd WIC 12:14 J. Walker (assists N. Kashirsky, D. Milan)

Notes: Ian Duval was scratched on Sunday afternoon, along with Dalton Reum (injured) and Kurtis Bartliff (on IR).

Great news for Kenton Miller who has been called up to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings) on a PTO.

The Wichita Thunder begins a long stretch of road games this week, Jan. 16 – 17 in Allen, Jan. 23 – 24 in Rapid City, and finally Jan. 28 in Quad City.

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