INDEPENDENCE, MO – The Wichita Thunder departed the Air Capital with hopes of turning their season around. Roster moves were made during the week to help solidify the defense and coach Kevin McClelland put the team through several rigorous practices, focusing on attention to detail in his systems and making sure the forwards come out of the defensive zone with plenty of speed.
Those hopes were somewhat dashed Saturday night, as the Thunder fell 5-2 to the Mavericks.
On teddy bear toss night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the Mavericks got going offensively thanks to a goal from defenseman Kyle Burroughs, who beat Thunder goaltender David Shantz to cue a flood of teddy bears. Four-and-a-half minutes later, Andrew Courtney scored his first goal in seven games to expand the Mavericks lead to 2-0.
Ian Lowe would cut into the Missouri lead late in the period as he put a rebound past goaltender Josh Robinson to give the Thunder their third power play goal in four games. For Lowe, it was his first goal in five games. Former Mavericks defenseman Landon Oslanski also collected an assist on the power play marker.
In the second, the Mavericks tallied three unanswered goals in a seven-minute span to take a 5-1 advantage. Carter Verhaeghe recorded his fourth of the season at 4:14 to make it 3-1. Bryce Aneloski and Colin Markison found the net just 1:39 apart to make it 5-1. Wichita was able to get one back at 17:54 when Andrew Courtney was assessed a five-minute boarding major. Harris put a shot through a screen that beat Robinson to the blocker side that made it 5-2 after 40 minutes.
Wichita peppered Robinson in the final period with several quality scoring chances, but were unable to find the back of the net. Andy Huff got to a loose puck with Robinson coming out of his crease and slid it to the slot, but Mason Baptista wasn’t able to get his stick free and it trickled just wide of the post.
The final horn sounded with the Mavericks taking a 5-2 victory. The win sealed the Mavericks victory over the Thunder in the Independence Cup rivalry series, and Missouri improved to 8-0-0 this season against the Wichita. The teams will meet seven more times this season.
Despite the loss, there were some positives for Thunder fans to take away from the game. Wichita recorded its first two-man advantage marker of the season. They also scored their first power play goal away from home. Finally, Wichita had its first game recording two or more power play tallies.
Wichita’s seven-game road trip continues Tuesday night, when they play the Rapid City Rush for the first time this season.