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There are days when you just feel you can’t get ahead, you can’t catch a break and that is exactly what is happening to the Wichita Thunder right now. With Kenton Miller out on 21-day IR and Ian Duval out day-to-day, the team has lost two dynamic forwards who are crucial to this team’s offense. How can a team compensate for such a loss? Last night the Thunder ended up slotting in several defenseman into the forward lines at times and while it wasn’t pretty, it worked more or less. However, just like the previous night’s game against Tulsa, the slightest mistake, or penalty, or miscue can cost them the game late in the 3rd period.

The Thunder can’t afford to panic — and that is what is happening at times as the team faces a much faster, more offensive team. My advice to the Thunder is to take a deep breath and focus on your strengths. Don’t allow your opponents to drive the game. Slow it down. Push your opponent off his game and stay out of the damned penalty box, boys!

Even with the Mallards outshooting the Thunder early in the 1st period Wichita put good pressure on Quad City. The Thunder had a very good overall effort with a number of excellent chances from Nikita Kashirsky, Todd Hosmer and Ian Lowe, along with solid defense and hits from Kirill Tulupov and Michael Trebish. Late in the 1st at 17:57 the Mallard’s Kevin Baker scored on a backhander from the slot to make it a 1-0 game. Shots for the period were 9-8 for Quad City.

The 2nd period looked even better for the Thunder as Nikita Kashirsky tied the game with a shot from the low slot that slipped past Parker Milner at 1:02. The Thunder’s passing was clean, tape-to-tape, and shots on goal for the 2nd were 11-5 for the Thunder.

The 3rd started with more back-and-forth play between the two teams as the Thunder attempted to break the tie however at 9:52 Mallard’s Mason Baptista scored on a deflection from Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel to take the lead 2-1. Tim Boron signaled for interference however play continued. A late powerplay gave Wichita some good chances from RG Flath, and later with Boron pulled to add an extra attacker on the ice, the Thunder pushed hard for the tying goal.

With 30 seconds left Tim Boron was in the process of leaving the net once again to add an extra attacker, and as he scrambled to return Mario Lamoureux stole the puck along the benches and scored off a partial breakaway for a 3-1 Quad City win.

Someone asked me recently why a team pulls their goalie near the end when an empty net goal is a high probability and my response was that a team has nothing to lose and everything to gain by such a move. Take the risk, it is always worth the reward if it works in your favor. The last two nights did not go in Wichita’s favor, however it is always worth a try! Always. And here’s another tip — pull that goalie even earlier when the stakes are less. The 2nd period would have been a great time to take advantage of an added attacker for the Thunder last night.

Period Team Time Goals
1st QC 17:57 K. Baker (assists J. Lee, A. Coldwell)
2nd WIC 1:02 N. Kashirsky (assist E. Meland)
3rd QC 9:25 M. Baptista (assist B. Dieude-Fauvel)
3rd QC 19:29 M. Lamoureux (assist J. Lee, M. Monfredo)

As of this morning this is how the Central Division stands:

March 15 2015 Central Division

The Thunder returned home last night and will head to Allen, TX for two back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.