WICHITA, KS – It’s been a long week for Nathan Moon.
First, he was acquired from the Rapid City Rush on Monday, then packed his car and drove the 12-plus hours from the Black Hills to Wichita to join his new teammates. On top of meeting new teammates and getting acclimated to his new surroundings, Moon had two practices to learn the systems Thunder head coach Malcolm Cameron employs.
So, to say that he was excited to get on the ice Friday night might have been a bit of an understatement.
Moon scored two goals in his team debut Friday night, as the Wichita Thunder defeated the Alaska Aces 5-1.
Moon’s first goal came at 12:04 of the opening period when Stephen Perfetto put the puck on his stick and Moon put it in the upper corner over Kevin Carr‘s left shoulder to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.
The Aces answered just over two minutes later, as Gabriel Gagne had trouble with a puck that came over to him. It trickled into the net behind Scott Greenham and tied the game at one. Steven Tarasuk was credited with the power-play marker.
Gagne made amends for the Alaska goal, by scoring off a face-off just 2:11 into the second period to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. 93 seconds later, Moon struck again for his second goal of the evening, scoring off a drop pass from Logan Nelson in the right circle to expand the Thunder lead to 3-1.
The Thunder added two more in the third, one on the power play and another of the shorthanded variety. Alexis Loiseau tallied his eighth of the season at 4:17 to make it 4-1 on a shorthanded breakaway. He now has shorthanded goals in back-to-back games. Alexis Vanier put an exclamation point on the win with a power-play goal at 8:55 and a 5-1 lead.
Speaking of his two goals on the night, Moon said it felt good to get the goals right away with his new team.
“It’s huge,” he said. “I want to help this team win any way possible I can and to come in and do that, it was quite a pleasure.”
“I thought he (Moon) was really good,” Cameron said. “He was good in the faceoff circle. I thought he was poised defensively and had a nice, calming influence on the team.”
One concerning stat for Wichita is that the team has allowed 40 or more shots in back-to-back games, and three of their last four.
“We still gave up too many shots,” Cameron said. “At the end of the day, we probably gave up 12 to 15 shots off lost faceoffs so that’s an area we have got to get better at. And at the end of the day, you can’t turn over pucks inside your zone. Sometimes not everything is just a clean breakout, sometimes you’re going to have to do a little work; you’ve got to put it off the boards, the glass and get it out of the zone.”
Wichita has scored at least five goals in three of the last five games. Nelson has seven points (2g, 5a) in his last six contests. Nick Trecapelli added an assist, extending his point-streak to four games (2g, 4a). Gagne finished with a goal and an assist. Greenham secured his fifth win of the season, stopping 46 of 47 shots. Kevin Carr took the loss, stopping 20 of 25 shots he faced.
The Thunder went 1-for-4 on the power play and has power play goals in six-straight games. Alaska went 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
Same two teams tonight at INTRUST Bank Arena. Face-off is set for 7:05 pm.