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What a tough night for the Wichita Thunder in Tulsa as they lose 4-1, however the score does not really begin to show how close it actually was until later in the 3rd period with Tulsa’s third goal. Wichita’s loss and Rapid City’s win last night swaps the two teams’ rankings for the Central Division and the Thunder now sit in 4th, one point behind the Rush.

Last night was Tulsa’s first home game since February 14th, and their first game in eight days following their March 4th game in Quad City, however that did not seem to slow the Oilers down much at all.

The Thunder got off to a slow start in the 1st period with some sloppy passing up against Tulsa’s aggressive forechecking. As the period progressed Wichita settled down and they were finally able to get some strong shots on net. Newly added Wichita goaltender Grant Rollheiser had a number of excellent saves in response to Tulsa’s consistent pressure. However, at 11:10 into the 1st Tulsa’s points leader Adam Pleskach scored on a two-on-one rush with a pass from Jeff Jubinville. Dan Milan had several very good chances later in the 1st but the Thunder had trouble solving Tulsa’s Kevin Carr who was outstanding last night. The Oilers outplayed and outshot the Thunder 16-9 in the 1st.

The 2nd started on a powerplay for the Wichita Thunder with 1:29 remaining on a penalty by Matt Larke at the end of the 1st. The Thunder carried that momentum and confidence into the remainder of the period and at 4:25 Danick Gauthier tied the game with a beauty of a goal that slipped right through Carr. Shots on goal for the 2nd were 17-8 in favor of the Thunder.

At 6:31 into the 3rd Ian Lowe was called for boarding putting Tulsa on the powerplay for the third time of the game. Just 5 seconds after the powerplay ended Pleskach scored his second goal of the night off a rebound giving Tulsa the lead 2-1. Just 12 seconds later Tulsa’s Brady Ramsay fired a shot from the right-wing catching Rollheiser out of position to make it 3-1 and that goal more or less signaled the end. The Thunder created some very good offensive chances late in the third period, probably the best of the entire game, but it was too little too late for Wichita. With about 2 minutes left in the game the Thunder pulled Rollheiser for an extra attacker and even then Wichita could not stop Tulsa’s Tommy Mele who added an empty net goal at 18:03. Shots on goal for the 3rd were tied 10-10.

Period Team Time Goals
1st TUL 11:10 A. Pleskach (assists J. Jubinville, B. Ramsay)
2nd WIC 4:25 D. Gauthier (assist D. Milan)
3rd TUL 8:34 A. Pleskach (assists S. Macaulay, D. Pszenyczny)
3rd TUL 8:46 B. Ramsay (assist J. Obermeyer)
3rd TUL 18:03 T. Mele (assist T. Caig) – EN

Wichita’s meat and potatoes style of play has never been a good matchup against Tulsa’s fast, aggressive style. The Oilers fast skating, combined with their onslaught forechecking can disrupt and muddle Wichita at times, making it very hard to regain their momentum. Wichita has to figure them out quickly since they have four more games against Tulsa and every point matters from here out.

Team Notes: Ian Duval is still out for the Thunder with a day-to-day injury.

The Thunder traveled to Quad City after the game last night and will face the Mallards this evening at 7:05 p.m.