WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder had their busiest week of the season-to-date, continuing a four-game homestand while hosting the first home school day game in more than 15 years.
We’ll look back at that games, plus get you caught up on all the Thunder news and notes.
Let’s get started, shall we!
Game #8 — Wednesday vs. Utah @ INTRUST Bank Arena
Despite having four different goal scorers in the contest, the Thunder defense was porous on Wednesday, allowing Utah more than 40 shots on net.
“We scored three goals by committing to good defense, which led to good offense. After that, we played reckless, high risk, didn’t score another good goal and we gave up too many scoring opportunities,” said head coach Malcolm Cameron. “I’m just tired of it over the last four games; the odd-man rushes, the breakaways because we are thinking ‘goal’ rather than ‘team'”
Ralph Cuddemi broke through on the scoresheet for the first time since opening weekend. Recently assigned netminder Stuart Skinner took the loss in his first game back in Wichita, allowing the game-winning goal with less than two minutes to go.
Game #9 — Friday vs. Utah @ INTRUST Bank Arena
In the final game of a three-game set between the two clubs, unforced errors spelled doom for Wichita, who was looking to snap a four-game winless streak.
Prior to the game, Utah scoring leader Caleb Herbert was recalled to AHL Colorado, but his teammates picked up the slack, scoring three goals in the first 13:40 of the contest and chasing netminder Dylan Wells.
Despite Utah’s lead, the Thunder would get no closer than two goals, as each time, the Grizzlies struck back on the scoreboard. The back-breaking goal came on a penalty shot in the third period, when Cole Ully beat Skinner blocker side to give Utah a 5-2 lead.
Greg Chase and Jeremy Beaudry would each light the lamp for the first time this season, while Cuddemi extended his goal-scoring streak to two games.
Game #10 — Sunday vs. Allen @ INTRUST Bank Arena
The final game of the week pitted two rivals that were looking to snap long losing skids; Wichita’s was at five, while Allen’s was at six. Something had to give.
“I’m glad the hockey gods smiled on us today to give us a chance to win in the shootout because I thought we deserved an extra crack at it in overtime,” Cameron said after the game. “We’ve given away some games late in the third period in the last couple of weeks and I think guys on the bench resolved that we weren’t going to let it happen again.”
Brown and Chase led the way offensively with two points apiece and Stuart Skinner remained perfect in shootout situations stopping all three Allen shooters. P.C. Labrie and Steven Iacobellis both extended their point streaks to six games. Zach Todd tallied his first goal in a Thunder uniform. Cuddemi added an assist, was a +3 and had six shots on net.
Major Stats Thru Five Weeks of the Thunder Season:
Heating Up: After a slow start to the season, the Thunder offense is heating up as we approach Thanksgiving. Ralph Cuddemi has points in three straight contests; Greg Chase has four points (2G, 2A) in his last two games, including the shootout winner on Sunday; and Travis Brown has three points (1G, 2A) in his last two games.
Goals > Punches: Through the opening of this season, Dyson Stevenson and P.C. Labrie, known for their ability to put on the foil, have been busy turning on the red lamp. The two have combined for seven of Wichita’s 29 goals (24.1% of the team’s goals) and just four fighting majors.
Rookie Contributions: This crop of Thunder rookies have paid dividends early on this season. Mitch Maloney scored his first professional goal on Sunday afternoon, while rookie defensemen Zach Todd and Kyle Chatham were solid in their debuts. Fellow rookies Nolan Vesey and Jared Wilson each chipped in with an assists on Sunday.
Stewy – Stuart Skinner has been stellar in the shootout so far this season. He stopped all three shooters for Allen on Sunday, improving to 3-0 in the shootout. He has also stopped all eight shooters he’s faced.
The Road to 25: A magic number for Thunder fans to follow is “25,” which represents the number of wins the team would likely need against Tulsa, Kansas City, and Allen to be significant contenders for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Last season, Wichita went 15-12-2-0 against those three teams. This season, Wichita played those three teams 40 times (Allen and Tulsa 14 times each, Kansas City 12 times.) Here is a breakdown of the team’s record against the Thunder’s three foes:
Kansas City: 0-0-1-0
This week, Wichita will have three games against the Kansas City Mavericks.
They Said It:
Over the weekend, the Wichita Thunder announced the return of forward Mark MacMillan, after a brief stint in Sweden. When asked about the impact MacMillan can bring to the team, head coach Malcolm Cameron said this:
“You can play Mark anywhere and with anybody. I can put him with anybody and he’s going to make everybody around him better. He plays at such a high pace with such high energy. He fought, an 80 percent faceoff guy, he plays power-play, penalty kill. And he cares so immensely about his team…you just cannot have enough of those guys.”
Comings and Goings:
Here’s a breakdown of the player movement over the last week for Wichita:
|Nov 5||Placed (D) Kevin Patterson on team suspension, activated him from injured-reserve; released (G) Ted Florence from EBUG|
|Nov 6||(G) Stuart Skinner re-assigned to Wichita by Edmonton; (F) John McFarland recalled from loan by Bakersfield|
|Nov 7||Nolan Vesey (F) reassigned by Edmonton from Bakersfield; Activated (F) Greg Chase from reserve; placed (D) Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin on 14-day IR (retro to 11/5)|
|Nov 8||Released (F) Colin Jacobs|
|Nov 9||Added (D) Zach Todd in trade from Orlando, signed (D) Kyle Chatham to contract|
|Nov 10||Signed (F) Mark MacMillan to SPC, placed him on 14-day IR.|
|Nov 11||Activated (F) Mitch Maloney from reserve|
The Next Five:
Here’s a look at the next five opponents for the Wichita Thunder. Home games are in bold italics and all times Central.
|Opponent||Date & Game Start Time||Venue|
|Kansas City Mavericks||November 13, 10:35 am CT||Silverstein Eye Centers Arena|
|Kansas City Mavericks||November 16, 7:05 pm CT||INTRUST Bank Arena|
|Kansas City Mavericks||November 17, 7:05 pm CT||INTRUST Bank Arena|
|Tulsa Oilers||November 20, 7:05 pm||BOK Center|
|Tulsa Oilers||November 21, 7:05 pm||INTRUST Bank Arena|
Join Matthew Will and me for The Sin Bin Pregame show before every Wichita Thunder game this season! Home pregame shows begin at 6:30 pm (3:30 pm CT on Sundays,) with road pregame shows starting 20 minutes before puck drop! You can tune in on ECHL TV, on mixlr.com, or by downloading The Sin Bin app for Apple & Android devices!