WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder return to action after a five-day layoff, looking to snap an eight-game winless streak. What better time to do it than against their close-by competitors, Kansas City Mavericks.

Looking Back…

Sunday afternoon’s contest for Wichita marked the low-point of the season-to-date. The Thunder allowed five goals in the first period to Allen, as the Americans blew Wichita out 8-3.

Jakob Stukel led the way for the Thunder with three assists while Jesse Gabrielle, Mark MacMillan, and Dominic Zombo scored the Thunder.

Tonight’s Specifics

Venue: INTRUST Bank Arena
First Face-off: 7:05 pm
How to Listen: The Sin Bin app/ECHL.TV
Pregame show starts at 6:30, game broadcast at 7 pm
Interact with Us During the Game: @SinBinThunder
Referee:
Liam Sewell
Linesmen: Chris Provost & Addison Brush

Overall Stats

  • Kansas City leads the season series 5-4-0-0. With a win tonight, the Mavericks will win the season series and reclaim the Independence Cup.
  • In the last five seasons, Kansas City is 33-21-2-1 against Wichita. But in the last two seasons, the series has tightened up, with Wichita earning a 9-4-4-1 record against the Mavericks.
  • The last two matchups in the series have been decided by one goal
  • With a win tonight, Wichita can move into a tie for fourth place (in points) in the Mountain Division.
    • Entering Friday, Kansas City still holds four major tiebreakers: wins (19 to 15,) head-to-head wins (5 to 4), non-shootout wins (18 to 12), and goal differential (+3 to -17)

Thunder Notes

  • Steven Iacobellis saw his six-game point streak come to an end on Sunday. During the run, the rookie forward piled up ten points (3G, 7A).
  • Jakob Stukel has five points in his last three games (1G, 4A)
  • Cam Reid has six points in his last six games (3G, 3A)
  • Dylan Wells returns to Wichita after spending more than a month with AHL Bakersfield. In his five previous games with Wichita, he allowed eight goals on 167 shots faced (1.80 goals against average and a .928 save percentage)
  • Wichita’s power play has gone scoreless in their last 14 chances, but have allowed seven power-play goals in their last 18 times shorthanded (the PK went 4-for-8 on Sunday against Allen)
  • This season against Kansas City, the Thunder power play is 10-for-26 (38% efficiency,) while the penalty kill has allowed nine goals in 37 times shorthanded (76% kill rate).
Possible Wichita Scratches:
  • Dyson Stevenson – injured reserve
  • Travis Brown – injured reserve
  • Gabriel Verpaelst – injured reserve
  • Lane Bauer – injured reserve
  • Stefan Fournier – injured reserve
  • PC Labrie – suspension (one game)
  • Additional scratches will be revealed closer to game time

Mavericks Notes

  • Mavs leading scorer, Mark Cooper, has signed a player tryout contract with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
  • Jared VanWormer rejoins the Mavs after a stint with the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). VanWormer leads the Mavericks with five goals against Wichita this season.
  • David and Darian Dziurzynski have combined for 13 points (7G, 6A) in nine games against Wichita. On the flip side, the brothers Dziurzynski are a combined -8.
Possible Kansas City Scratches:
  • Mark Cooper – AHL (San Antonio)
  • Cliff Watson – AHL (Utica Comets)
  • Brett Beauvais – has not played since January 4
  • Mason McDonald – has not played since December 21
  • Additional scratches will be revealed closer to game time

What to Watch For

As the Thunder continues to battle injuries up front, the onus has to be put on the third line grouping to produce something for Wichita. With Labrie and 10th forward Ryan Jasinsky in the locker room Sunday afternoon, we saw glimpses of combinations that could work for head coach Malcolm Cameron in tonight’s contest; Stukel-Iacobellis-Zombo, Gabrielle-MacMillan-Reid, with Cuddemi and Larkin platooning on the two lines. It’s possible Ryan Van Stralen checks into the lineup after being scratched Sunday and that might add a jolt to the Thunder offense.

For Kansas City, the recipe to their success against Wichita has been a dogged puck pursuit and pressure on the forecheck, which causes Thunder puck-handlers to turn the puck over. Look for that to continue again tonight.

Cruisin’ the Mountain

Up the Chain

AHL: Bakersfield is hosting the Tucson Roadrunners tonight at 7:00 pm PT/9 pm CT

NHL: Edmonton hosts Calgary tomorrow night at 7:00 pm MT/9 pm CT. It is the NHL.com free game.