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Wichita Thunder

The Quad City Mallards shutout the Wichita Thunder last night 4-0 and it was not due to a lack of shots on goal as the Thunder outshot the Mallards 26-24. However it was due to an overall lack of higher quality shots on goal as there were only a handful of actual quality shots by the Thunder last night and they will not get to the playoffs without a better effort.

The Thunder went with five defensemen last night — Wilson, Milan, Tulupov, Meland and Trebish. That has been a very good mix for this team allowing for a bit more offense, and it has certainly helped in the past, however last night it was not much use against a very good Quad City defense and a team who excels at forechecking as well as backchecking.

The topic of the Thunder’s Shots and Shooting Efficiency has been discussed on this blog back on January 25th, 2015:

| Wichita’s Shots and Shooting Efficiency:

“It’s obvious that there are two different factors that influence goal-scoring. The first is shot volume; all else being equal, more shots mean more goals. The second is shooting efficiency; if a player can find a way to take higher-quality shots he’s going to score more goals, even if his shot volume doesn’t change.” — Jonathan Willis talking about Edmonton Oilers’ Taylor Hall this season.

This is a long running story with the Wichita Thunder this season — shot volume vs shot efficiency. Sometimes there is a lack of BOTH, and there is ALWAYS a lack of shot efficiency. Out of the Thunder’s 26 shots on goal there were only a handful of higher quality shots (five is probably being very generous!) that actually had a very good chance of creating a scoring opportunity for Wichita.

Shooting efficiency, along with entering the zone with possession, better neutral zone play — all of these could greatly help Wichita make it to the playoffs. However, for now, just focus on scoring, boys! It is very telling when a team’s defense accounts for 10 out of the total 26 shots on goal.

Team Notes: Newly acquired Garrett Klotz was in the lineup last night wearing the jersey number 24. Darren Bestland and Mike MacIntyre were scratches.

Tonight the Wichita Thunder face the Missouri Mavericks in Independence, Missouri for their final road game of the 2014-15 regular season.