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WIC v TUL 032115-2

Eric Meland. Wichita Thunder vs. Tulsa Oilers, March 21, 2015 (Photo: Courtesy of Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)

“I know it was four games in five nights, but that shouldn’t happen. We just didn’t have a good game,” Thunder’s Coach McClelland told the Wichita Eagle. “We had opportunities, we had power plays at the beginning, and we don’t shoot the puck,” he said. “I don’t know what it is with our home games, but we’re a team that plays way better on the road. We’ve got to fix that, and we don’t have a lot of time left.”

“All these games coming up are going to be huge,” R.G. Flath said. “We need these points, and it’s playoff hockey for us right now.”

Usually on the drive home post game I recap the game in my head, noting the high points, low points and defining moments of the game. Last night was a muddle of mostly low points and a whole lot of nothing.

McClelland discounts the four games in five nights, but I don’t think you can discount exactly how tough those three games against Allen really were. And let’s not forget the team traveled back and forth on game day — they drove down on their first game day Tuesday and returned post game on Wednesday night.  They arrived home early Thursday morning and faced Allen on Friday and Tulsa on Saturday. The Wichita Thunder just ran out of gas mid-3rd period against the Allen Americans on Friday night. The team came into Saturday’s game against Tulsa — an incredibly fast offensive team — and they’ve got nothing left to give, physically or mentally.

That is exactly how this team played last night — there wasn’t much left in them. Physically they were being beaten in Tulsa’s race to the net on clear breakaways, but it also wasn’t just physically. It was also a mental breakdown as well — clearly the Thunder were not capable of even mentally processing the game last night. There was no thought process involved in many of their plays — it was merely a mad scramble as they reacted against Tulsa’s aggressive system. Passes were being sent to Tulsa players, shots were not on net, there was very little setup of plays even within their own offensive zone at times.

McClelland is right about the home games, and a lot of hockey teams do this unfortunately. When a team is on the road their only concerns are focused on the game and the team has time to bond (to use an old cliché). At home, there are the distractions of everyday life, good and bad. Some NHL teams have solved this issue during the playoffs by putting their players up in hotels even at home games, however you are never going to see this in the ECHL, so the Thunder have to solve this if they intend to make the playoffs. Of the Thunder’s nine remaining games only two are played away:

Quad City Mallards — 1 home/1 away
Missouri Mavericks — 1 away
Tulsa Oilers — 3 home
Allen Americans — 2 home
Brampton Beast — 1 home

Per Team Time Goals
1st TUL 5:39 D. Fisher (assists D. Pszenyczny, K. Carr)
2nd TUL 4:34 K. Bochek (assists S. Perfetto, P. Brewer)
2nd TUL 7:01 J. Jubinville (assist D. Pszenyczny) – PP
2nd TUL 17:04 J. Jubinville (assists S. Macaulay, D. Fisher)
3rd WIC 1:18 R. Flath (assists D. Gauthier, T. Hosmer)

The Wichita Thunder return Wednesday night at home to face the Quad City Mallards.

Superman vs Kryptonite