WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder continues their five-game road trip tonight, playing the middle game of a three-game set with the Utah Grizzlies.

Looking Back…

The fourth game of the nine-game season series got off to a good start for Wichita on Wednesday night, when PC Labrie put a one-timer behind Kevin Carr 75 seconds into the contest to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.

Utah’s Austin Carroll would score with just over three minutes left in the opening period to even the game at 1-1.

Cam Reid answered back early in the second, when he put a rebound behind Carr to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. Reid’s third goal on the year came on the power play. From there, Utah scored four unanswered goals spanning the second and third periods.

Steven Iacobellis scored his 11th of the season to make the score 5-3 Utah, but in reality, the score was not indicative of the disparity in play between the two teams. Utah looked well-rested, while Wichita looked exhausted and lethargic.

Overall Stats

  • Utah leads the season series against Wichita 4-0-0-0. With a win tonight, the Grizzlies will win the season series.
  • In the last five years between the two teams, Utah is 13-1-1-0 against Wichita
  • The last three matchups in the series have been decided by an average of two goals
  • With a win tonight, Wichita can remain in fourth place in the Mountain division; while Utah can move back into first in the division with a win this evening.

Thunder Notes

  • Iacobellis picked up three points (1G, 2A) on Wednesday night and is third overall in league scoring with 39 points (11G, 28A). The rookie forward has picked up points in 25 of his last 29 games (10G, 27A).
  • Ralph Cuddemi picked up an assist in Wednesday’s contest, extending his point streak to six games during which time he has nine points (3G, 6A).
  • PC Labrie scored his second goal of the season against Utah Wednesday night. He is second on the team with six points (2G, 4A) against Utah this season.
  • Stuart Skinner has started the last 11 games for Wichita and likely will get the call again tonight. This season against Utah, Skinner is 0-3-0-0, with a 4.82 goals against average and a .868 save percentage.
  • Wichita’s power play against Utah this season is 2-14 (14.3% efficiency)
  • Overall, Wichita’s power play has registered at least one power play goal in 19 of their last 23 games
Possible Wichita Scratches:
  • Dyson Stevenson – injured reserve
  • Travis Brown – injured reserve
  • Gabriel Verpaelst – injured reserve
  • Lane Bauer – injured reserve
  • Stefan Fournier – injured reserve
  • Jakob Stukel – suspension (two games)
  • Additional scratches will be revealed closer to game time

Grizzlies Notes

  • The Grizzlies have scored first in 19 of the 30 games this season
  • J.T. Henke picked up an assist Wednesday night and has 15 points since joining the Grizzlies (10G, 5A)
  • Jake Marchment had a goal and assist Wednesday night and is tied for the team lead (Austin Carroll) with seven points (4G, 3A) against Wichita this season
  • Utah’s power play is 7-21 against Wichita this season (33.3% efficiency)
  • Kevin Carr picked up another win against Wichita. Since breaking into the league with Tulsa, the Grizzlies netminder has picked up 30 wins against Wichita.
Possible Utah Scratches:
  • Turner Ottenbreit – has not played since December 12
  • RT Rice – has not played since December 30
  • Additional scratches will be revealed closer to game time

What to Watch For

For Wichita, they have adjusted to the altitude of Utah and had some time away from the rink. Will this mean the team is rejuvenated and ready to hang with the Grizzlies? Another aspect to watch is how will Wichita handle Utah’s pressure on the puck?

For Utah, the recipe to their success against Wichita has been relentless puck pursuit and pressure on the netminder. Look for that to continue again tonight.

Cruisin’ the Mountain

Up the Chain

In the American Hockey League, the Colorado Eagles travel to Bakersfield to take on the Condors in a game you can watch for free on Facebook Watch. Faceoff of that contest is set for 7:05 pm PT/9:05 pm CT. Since being called up from the Wichita Thunder, goaltender Dylan Wells has won four of his six starts, has a 2.00 goals against average, a .935 save percentage with a shutout.

Forward John McFarland has played just three games for the Condors since his recall in mid-December, while Nolan Vesey has not seen game action since his recall after Sunday’s game. Defenseman Jared Wilson has not seen ice-time in games since his recall on December 12.

The Edmonton Oilers have the night off but are back in action on Saturday night in Los Angeles when they take on the Kings to round out the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader.

You can listen to tonight’s contest on The Sin Bin app beginning at 7:40 pm CT with The Sin Bin Pregame show, followed by the game broadcast at 8 pm CT. You can download The Sin Bin app through the Google Play or iTunes stores!

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