The Wichita Thunder defeated the Missouri Mavericks last night in what could have been a much easier and more decisive win after leading 4-1 at the end of the 1st period. However the Thunder always seemed to have the edge and despite allowing the Mavericks back into the game, they were able to keep Missouri from taking the game into overtime in the last half of the 3rd period.
As Coach McClelland told Jeffrey Lutz, “We only gave up six shots in the third and two of them went in. That fourth goal made it close and those usually don’t go in.”
In the end the Thunder won 5-4, gaining two much-needed points for the playoff run, and a win is a win no matter the score. Let’s take it and enjoy it.
| Roster Notes: Edmonton Oilers’ Tyler Bunz was recalled to the Oklahoma City Barons on Feb. 10th to fill in as the Barons’ Richard Bachman was recalled to the Edmonton Oilers, and as a result the Thunder have traded for goaltender Sean Bonar from the Orlando Solar Bears for future considerations. Kevin St. Pierre was backup last night however Sean Bonar has now been added to the team’s roster this morning. Danick Gauthier was reassigned from the Syracuse Crunch to the Wichita Thunder on Feb. 9th, but was not in the Thunder lineup last night, and he has still not been added to the team’s roster as of this morning.
- Wichita Thunder Game Recap
- Missouri Mavericks Game Recap
- Jeffrey Lutz’s Wichita Eagle Game Recap
- ECHL Game Sheet
In the rapidly escalating Central Division playoff race the Thunder received some good news in that Quad City and Rapid City were both defeated last night. The Thunder are in 3rd now with 50 points, 2 points behind Quad City in 2nd. The Tulsa Oilers have leapfrogged Rapid City to regain their 4th spot with 48 points, just 2 points behind the Thunder.
The next three games for the Wichita Thunder will be critical as they face the top league ranked Allen Americans, first in Allen tonight (after a late bus trip to Texas postgame last night). The Thunder will return to Wichita tonight postgame to face Allen again tomorrow afternoon, and lo and behold the Thunder will once again face Allen on Wednesday night back in Allen. Tough draw of the schedule for Wichita, but they have to find a way to pick up some points.
What you need to know about the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs:
Per the ECHL Rules: “The top four teams in each division during the regular season will qualify for the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs. All four rounds of the playoffs will be played in a best-of-seven format.”
“The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played entirely within the division with the division winner meeting the fourth-place finisher and the second-place finisher meeting the team that finished in third place in the Division Semifinals. The Division Finals will pit the winner of each series against each other. The winner of the North Division Finals will meet the winner of the East Division Finals in the Eastern Conference Finals while the winner of the Central Division will meet the winner of the Pacific Division Finals in the Western Conference Finals. The 2015 Kelly Cup Finals will see the Eastern Conference champion take on the Western Conference champion.”
If the playoffs were to begin today the Central Division would see
#1 Allen Americans vs. #4 Tulsa Oilers
#2 Quad City Mallards vs. #3 Wichita Thunder
The winners of the two Division Semifinals would face each other in the Division Finals and the winner would move on to the Conference Finals.
| North Division
Cincinnati Cyclones, Evansville IceMen, Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings Toledo Walleye, Wheeling Nailers
| East Division
Elmira Jackals, Florida Everblades, Greenville Road Warriors, Gwinnett Gladiators, Orlando Solar Bears, Reading Royals, South Carolina Stingrays
| Central Division
Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Missouri Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers, Wichita Thunder
| Pacific Division
Alaska Aces, Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Ontario Reign, Stockton Thunder, Utah Grizzlies