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Tim Boron (from Feb. 15, 2015). Photo Courtesy of Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.

Tim Boron (from Feb. 15, 2015). Photo Courtesy of Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.

After a week’s break following the Wichita Thunder’s losses to Rapid City (Feb. 20th) and Allen (Feb. 21st), the Thunder got off to a slow start last night against the Brampton Beast but finished very strong with a 4-1 win. With the logjam of teams vying for 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Central Division standings, Wichita’s win keeps them in the top four with 57 points, however they are now only one point behind Tulsa in 3rd, and one point in front of Rapid City in 5th.

A rather slow start, some sloppy passing and good defensive plays kept the game scoreless until 8:06 when Wichita’s Ian Duval scored off a pass from Eric Meland. About five minutes later Brampton’s leading scorer Chad Painchaud scored after a turnover in the Thunder zone to tie the game at 1-1. Shots on goal were 10-8 for Wichita.

The 2nd period was all Wichita Thunder, however Brampton was able to keep the Thunder to one goal even though the Thunder far outshot them 21-7 in the period. At 15:08 Danick Gauthier scored after Brampton’s goaltender Trevor Cann lost the puck behind the net and was caught out of position. Sprawling in front of the net Cann made several outstanding saves, but Gauthier was able to finally get one past him to put the Thunder up 2-1.

The 3rd period started on a Wichita powerplay after Brampton’s Matt McCready was called for boarding at the end of the 2nd period. At 1:45 after an excellent Wichita cycle Kirill Tulupov let go a wrister from the deep slot that shot right past Cann to widen Wichita’s lead to 3-1. Later in the 3rd Tulupov also had a great shorthanded breakaway chance while on the penalty kill after Boron was called for slashing. At the end of the 3rd period Nikita Kashirsky scored an empty netter to cap off the night for the Thunder. Shots on goal for the 3rd were 12-7 for Brampton.

Tim Boron saved 26 of 27 shots in his 19th win of the season. Total shots on goal for the game were 38-27 for Wichita.

Period Team Time Goals
1st WIC 8:06 Ian Duval (assist E. Meland)
1st BRM 12:58 Chad Painchaud (assists J. Donati, D. Ling)
2nd WIC 15:08 Danick Gauthier (assists R. Flath, I. Lowe)
3rd WIC 1:45 Kirill Tulupov (assists E. Meland, J. Bernhardt) – PP
3rd WIC 19:24 Nikita Kashirsky (assists T. Hosmer, J. Walker) – EN

“Tonight was a huge win for us. I didn’t think we played our best, but a win is a win,” Ian Duval told Wichita Eagle’s Jeffrey Lutz.  “The power-play goal in the third period was huge for us to kind of get it out of reach there.”

Duval also had some crucial thoughts on Wichita’s recent play: “It was basically just getting two guys on the forecheck. That’s what we’ve been preaching this week is that we’ve got to get our forecheck going, that’s when we get most of our chances, most of our opportunities. We’re not a fancy hockey team, so we’ve got to get the work boots on.”

Duval’s comments are right on target. The Wichita Thunder is a meat-and-potato hockey club as I have mentioned in the past. They have to take full advantage of their forecheck, and when they do, they dominate.

Team Notes: Great to see Tim Boron with a new mask, even if it is only white! Boron’s Rapid City mask was beginning to wear thin for fans at this point in the Thunder season. Kurtis Bartliff was activated from Injured Reserve on Feb. 23rd however he has yet to play. Attendance was listed at 5,440 last night which was a surprisingly large crowd considering the extremely cold and snowy night. Well done, Wichita!

The Thunder returns on Sunday afternoon at 5:05 to face the Allen Americans in Wichita.