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Last night’s shutout in Missouri was one of those games where an entire team has to learn from their mistakes, get some rest and move on quickly.  On the plus side, there were periods of great play by the Wichita Thunder — outstanding cycling and offensive shifts in the first period (some of the best hockey they’ve played), a couple of massive saves by Tyler Bunz, and a scattering of some great chances and breakaways by players. However it was the detrimental breakdowns that killed them: a lack of quality shots on goal, lack of aggressive play, sloppy passes, lack of communication on their man-to-man coverage, as well as the team just looked exhausted.

At 18:52 in the 3rd the building frustrations got the best of both teams as a melee broke out at the far end, and even the goaltenders joined the fray when Edmonton Oilers’ prospect Tyler Bunz and Missouri’s Mike Clemente met at center ice to cap off the night. As the penalties were being announced, Thunder’s coach Kevin McClelland was so disgusted with the outcome that he too ended up with a penalty and was tossed from the game. As McClelland exited across the ice he blew a kiss to the officials, bringing to mind Scott Muscutt’s amusing and similar behavior in the 2013 CHL playoffs when the Arizona Sundogs faced McClelland’s Wichita Thunder in Prescott Valley.

And check out Bunz’s response:

Wichita’s loss creates a three-way tie in 2nd place with 46 points, as the Quad City Mallards beat Brampton last night and Tulsa moved up with their two wins over Brampton earlier this weekend.

Rank Central GP W L OTL SL PTS PCT
1 Allen Americans 41 30 7 2 2 64 0.780
2 Quad City Mallards 41 20 15 4 2 46 0.561
3 Wichita Thunder 43 20 17 2 4 46 0.535
4 Tulsa Oilers 44 21 19 1 3 46 0.523
5 Rapid City Rush 43 18 22 0 3 39 0.453
6 Missouri Mavericks 40 17 19 2 2 38 0.475
7 Brampton Beast 41 13 26 2 0 28 0.341

Next weekend the Wichita Thunder hit the road once again to face the Quad City Mallards on Feb. 6 and 7. Crunch time for the Thunder!