WICHITA, Kan. – The losing streak hit seven Sunday evening as the Indy Fuel defeated Wichita 7-5. Ryan Rupert and Woody Hudson were once again too much for Ty Rimmer and the Thunder’s defense.

Indy struck first at 5:45 in the first, courtesy of former Thunder forward Logan Nelson and his 12th goal of the year. The powerplay goal marked the fifth straight game Wichita has allowed a powerplay goal.

It did not take long for the floodgates to open. At 9:19 in the first, Matt Rupert added one on a strange play. Rimmer made the initial stop, but as his glove flew through the air, it hit the puck directly into Matt Rupert, who deflected the puck off his body and into the net.

The pain continued ten seconds later when Radovan Bondra added one of his own with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

The shutout bid did not last much longer as Mark MacMillan gave the Thunder faithful their first thing to cheer about all weekend, scoring after Wichita took their time to set up a play after a won faceoff.

Wichita would hold out the final eight minutes of the period, going into the first intermission only down two.

Stefan Fournier had something to say as the teams returned to the ice, finding the back of the net only 1:28 into the second, scoring off a nice pass from Lane Bauer.

Indy did not take long to strike back, as Ryan Rupert recorded his first tally of the night 116 seconds later.

The teams played one of the longest stretches of the game without a goal until Ryan Rupert added another to his total at 12:08 in the second.

Wichita, who were beginning to slow down on the ice, allowed one more just 69 seconds later as Bondra added a second goal to his night.

At this point, with 6:43 remaining in the second, Wichita Thunder head coach Malcolm Cameron called his timeout in an attempt to restart the team focus.

“[coach said] whatever we were doing was not going to work,” Thunder Captain Dyson Stevenson said. “It was a wakeup call, you know. We could not give up anymore goals or it was going to be really out of reach.”

And what a wakeup call it was. The Thunder held Indy scoreless through the remaining six-plus minutes of the period.

P.C. Labrie took a four-minute double minor for unsportsmanlike conduct as well as a ten-minute misconduct penalty with just over a minute remaining in the second.

Wichita had a fire in their eyes when taking the ice in the third, as it only took 2:44 for Jakob Stukel to find the back of the net after a nice deke in front of Tomkins.

Ryan Van Stralen added a goal 59 seconds later on one of his best plays of the season. As Van Stralen found the puck near the red line, Indy was executing a switch. Using his speed, Van Stralen beat everyone to the net-front area and buried a backhand shot top shelf on Tomkins.

Wichita’s comeback hopes became much more real when Taylor Cammarata scored on a good pass from Ralph Cuddemi at 7:35 of the third.

At this point, the game slowed down significantly, both sides getting their fair share of opportunities.

The comeback bid was put to rest when Ryan Rupert completed his hat trick with just over a minute remaining on an empty net goal from the red line. That marked the second straight night Wichita had a hat trick scored against them.

The Thunder would finish the game with a +10 shot differential (37-27) but down two on the scoreboard. Wichita’s powerplay went 1-for-3 while the penalty kill held Indy to 1-for-5 on their powerplay.

Ryan Rupert recorded five points (3G,2A) in the game while Hudson recorded three of his own (3A).

Rimmer stopped 20 of the 26 shots he faced, falling to 1-8-1-0 on the season. Tomkins saved 32 of 37 Wichita shot attempts and advanced to 20-15-2-1 this season.

Wichita continues the 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday morning with a kid’s day game in Indianapolis against the Indy Fuel. Puck drop is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CT. Catch the Sin Bin pregame show at 9:10 a.m. on the Sin Bin app.

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