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WT V QC 013015-338

Photo Courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved

By my calculations last night’s game was a winnable game for the Thunder and in fact, it was a much-needed win when you look at the remainder of the team’s schedule. Sadly that didn’t happen and it marked the team’s third straight loss at home.

Thunder coach Kevin McClelland told the Wichita Eagle, “We’re a team of, I don’t know, we seem to play better on the road. That’s a shame, because we’ve got such a great fan base. It’s just very disappointing.”

The Thunder got off to a great start at 1:26 into the 1st as Kirill Tulupov passed the puck up ice to Justin Bernhardt and RG Flath scored off Bernhardt’s deflected pass for the 1-0 lead. However a series of Thunder mistakes late in the 1st turned the game in favor of the Mallards. Coach McClelland described it best: “And then, all of a sudden, we get a penalty called against us, they score … then one of their guys gets behind our defense, and he’s on a breakaway. It’s 2-1, and that changes the whole complexion.”

From that point on the Thunder would never retake the lead again. Justin Bernhardt was able to tie the game late in the 2nd but Quad City scored 3 minutes later to regain the lead.

Quad City would widen their lead to 4-2 with a goal by Jannik Christensen at 8:13 into the 3rd period. Wichita had excellent moments and great pressure later in the 3rd period as Kenton Miller scored with 27 seconds remaining in the game (with goaltender Grant Rollheiser pulled) to cut Quad City’s lead in half but it was too late for the Thunder.

Wichita’s Coach McClelland summed up his team’s play with an added attacker and Quad City’s empty net goal — “On that goal, we didn’t get the puck in deep, give ourselves a chance to even tie it up. We don’t get it in deep, turn it over in the neutral zone – boom – in our net.”

Shots on goal for the 1st: 10-6 Quad City; Score: 2-1 Quad City.
Shots on goal for the 2nd: 7-6 Wichita; Score 3-2 Quad City.
Shots on goal for the 3rd: 12-9 Wichita; Score 5-3 Quad City.

Period Team Time Goals
1st WIC 1:26 R. Flath (assists J. Bernhardt, K. Tulupov)
1st QC 16:47 J. Perry (assists J. Fox, M. Duffy)  — PP
1st QC 17:44 J. Fox (assists M. Neal, M. Monfredo)
2nd WIC 15:39 J. Bernhardt (assists T. Hosmer, M. Wilson)
2nd QC 18:35 K. Baker (assists M. Neal, N. Grasso)
3rd QC 8:13 J. Christensen (assist M. Monfredo)
3rd WIC 19:33 K. Miller (assist M. Wilson)
3rd QC 19:44 J. Fox (assist M. Monfredo) – EN

The good news for the Thunder is that Kenton Miller was reactivated yesterday and he seemed to finally be returning to his previous form when he scored late in the 3rd period. Ian Duval was put on 21-day IR, dating back to March 9th so he could potentially return in early April if healthy.

The Thunder claimed Garrett Klotz from Indy Fuel on March 24 and we will wait to see if he is signed by the team. On March 25th the Thunder also released forward Dylan Hood who had played two games with the team this past weekend.

The Wichita Thunder falls to 5th place in the Central Division with 68 points, 2 points behind the Tulsa Oilers in 4th. Tulsa lost last night to the Allen Americans which helped the Thunder a bit. Rapid City and Quad City are in 2nd and 3rd with 71 points, and the Thunder very much need some wins to get back into the playoff race.

The Thunder headed off to Moline, Illinois last night for Friday night’s match against the Quad City Mallards. Good luck boys!