WICHITA, Kan. – After a lousy, winless three-game set with Allen last weekend, Wichita was in dire need of a good outing from skaters and goalkeepers alike, and that’s exactly what Dylan Wells and the Wichita Thunder did.
It only took 85 seconds for Stefan Fournier and the Thunder forwards to get started Friday night as Fournier made a good move in front of Nick Schneider, pulling him far enough out of the crease to sink the puck in behind him.
“[He Brings] Energy and EXPERIENCE.” Wichita Thunder Head COach Malcolm Cameron said about Fournier and the impact of his return to the ice.
The Thunder we not done yet, as Steven Iacobellis made an impressive tip on a slap shot by Gabriel Verpaelst, doubling Wichita’s lead less than two minutes later.
Despite powerplay opportunities for both sides, the 2-0 lead would hold true to the first intermission.
Once again, Wichita started the period hot, scoring on the powerplay just 2:11 into the period on a shot by Jesse Gabrielle that snuck through Schneider’s legs.
It was a back and forth remainder of the second period, as both teams had a few nice powerplay opportunities that neither could capitalize on. Once again, Wichita took a lead into the intermission, now 3-0.
At 5:11 in the third period, Ryan Van Stralen would receive a five minute major for charging as well as a game misconduct after a hit on Kansas City’s Zach Fischer.
During the penalty, Wichita would find a fast break the other way, as Keoni Texeira scored on a rocket off an assist by Mark MacMillan while shorthanded.
Wichita would finish killing the major penalty and carry that momentum to the end, including a 5-on-3 penalty kill to end the game. In total, the Thunder would be killing penalties for 14 of the 20 third period minutes.
Wells made 27 saves in his first ECHL shutout, winning his sixth straight game in a Thunder jersey.
MacMillan accounted for assists on three of Wichita’s four goals. Wichita would finish 1-or-4 on the powerplay and kill 9-on-9 penalties against.
“DETAILS AND [BEING] MORE AGGRESSIVE.” CAMERON SAID was the key TO THE MUCH IMPROVED PENALTY KILL COMPARED TO SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
Wichita concludes the official first half of the season tomorrow night as they complete a home-and-home series with Kansas City. Matthew Harding will bring you the pregame show on The Sin Bin app at 6:30 p.m followed by the game broadcast by Thunder play-by-play man Jason Mals.