INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Despite a late goal by Stefan Fournier, Joey Sides two first period goals proved enough for Kansas City, who defeated the Thunder 3-2.
It was Jason Salvaggio who started things offensively on Friday at 5:49 of the first. After Quentin Shore took an initial shot, Salvaggio found a rebound, skated to Nick Schneider‘s left and buried a backhand shot, giving the Thunder their sole lead of the game.
Minutes later, Sides scored his first of the evening at 8:22 on a rocket slap shot from the right faceoff circle, lifting the puck over Stuart Skinner‘s shoulder.
Directly after the goal, Corey Kalk rushed down the ice on a breakaway for Wichita, only to be denied by Schneider.
It did not take long for Sides to find the net again at 11:32, when he scored on a beautiful cross-slot pass from C.J. Eick, giving the Mavericks a 2-1 lead.
Kansas City carried the lead into the intermission along with an 11-10 shots on goal lead. The only penalties of the period were to Jared Wilson and Greg Betzold for fighting.
The second period was a penalty frenzy, the first going to Keoni Texeira, a two-minute slashing minor. Although they killed the penalty, Betzold scored seconds after the penalty expired, catching Wichita still shorthanded in the defensive zone.
Wichita got their chance on the powerplay halfway through the period on a high-sticking call on Brayden Sherbinin. With about 30 seconds remaining in the powerplay, Schneider tripped Ralph Cuddemi directly in front of his goalmouth to save a goal-scoring chance, giving Wichita 5-on-3 chance. Wichita only put one quality shot on net during the two-man advantage.
The teams traded a couple more penalties until the period ended, Kansas City still leading, 3-1.
The teams traded powerplays early in the third but neither could capitalize.
Late in the period, Wichita finally began the comeback. After calling their timeout with 1:38 in the third, Skinner remained on the bench, Wichita sending out an extra attacker.
The risk paid off 35 seconds later as Fournier found a rebound in front of the net and scored. The goal came after a hard slapshot by Cuddemi.
Wichita instantly put pressure on Kansas City, but eventually, a scrum occurred in the corner. The Mavericks held the puck along the boards in the corner until time expired to win the game 3-2.
Both teams went scoreless on the powerplay, Wichita going 0-for-3 and Kansas City going 0-for-4. The teams combined for 26 penalty minutes.
After tonight’s result, Wichita and Kansas City split the season series, each winning six games. Further, the Mavericks win cuts their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to nine, while Wichita faces a nearly insurmountable 12-point deficit to the Mavericks in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mountain Division.
Wichita looks to find two points in their final game of the current five-game road trip on Sunday against the Allen Americans at 4:05 p.m. You can catch Matthew Harding on the Sin Bin pregame show shortly after 3:35 p.m.