WICHITA, KS – The Wichita Thunder opened their silver anniversary season Saturday night in front of a record-setting crowd (for opening nights) of 12,231 announced at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Photo: Ed Bailey/The Sin Bin
Photo: Ed Bailey/The Sin Bin

Alex Krushelnyski made his presence known early in the game with a highlight-reel goal over the shoulder of Oilers’ goalie Jamie Phillips. But, turnovers and a bad second period kept the Thunder from getting Malcolm Cameron his first win as Wichita Thunder head coach, as the Oilers scored two in the middle stanza to take a 3-1 lead. Landon Oslanski and Jack Rodewald scored in the third period, helping the Thunder narrow the final result to 4-3.

With the loss, Wichita fell to 12-12-1 on opening nights.

Watch highlights of Saturday night’s tilt:

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN: 

Home: 0-1-0-0
Road: —
Overall: 0-1-0-0
Division Rank: T-5th in the ECHL’s Central Division (0 points)
Leading Scorer: Six players tied with one point (Krushelnyski, Oslanski, Rodewald, Mitch Holmberg, Louick Marcotte & James Melindy)
Goals: Three tied with one (Krushelnyski, Oslanski, Rodewald)
Assists: Three tied with one (Holmberg, Marcotte, Melindy)
Plus/Minus: +2 — Logan Nelson
Goals For: 3
Goals Against: 4
Power Play: 0-2 (0.0% conversion rate)
Penalty Kill: 4-4 (100% kill rate)
Goaltending: Scott Greenham 0-1-0, 4.11 GAA, .889 save percentage

NEXT FIVE GAMES: 

Opponent Date & Game Start Time* Venue
Missouri Mavericks Friday, October 21 7:05 pm CT INTRUST Bank Arena
South Carolina Stingrays Tuesday, October 25 7:05 pm ET North Charleston Coliseum
Atlanta Gladiators Thursday, October 27 10:05 am ET Infinite Energy Arena
Greenville Swamp Rabbits Friday, October 28 7 pm ET Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville Swamp Rabbits Sunday, October 30 3 pm ET Bon Secours Wellness Arena

*=> All times local
Home games are denoted in bold italics

Join Zach Courter and me before every Wichita Thunder home game this season beginning at 6:20pm for The Sin Bin/Wichita Thunder pregame show! You can tune in on ECHL TV, on mixlr.com or on the MixLr app for Apple & Android devices, just search Wichita Thunder.

TEAM HEADLINES:

BIG CROWDS – As mentioned above, the Thunder recorded a crowd of 12,231 for their season opener Saturday night. It is the eighth time the franchise has recorded a crowd over 10,000, all of which have come at INTRUST Bank Arena. That got me to thinking, what is the team’s all-time record with sellout crowds and when the announced attendance is over 10,000? So, here you go:

Attendance Over 10K: 3-5
When the Building is Sold Out: 10-5-4

WELCOME BACK – Malcolm Cameron returned to an ECHL bench this weekend for the first time since 2010-11 season when he was the head coach of the Elmira Jackals. Cameron ranks 10th in games coached (556) and is tied for eighth in league history for most wins (317).

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ – Los Angeles native Alex Krushelnyski scored the season’s first goal on a breakaway just over two-and-a-half minutes into Saturday night’s contest. Krushelnyski is seven goals short of 50 for his career.

LAND OF OZ – Landon Oslanski picked up where he left off last season, scoring his first goal of the year on Saturday night and his 11th in a Thunder uniform. His goal cut the Oilers lead to 3-2 near the midway point of the final period. The Camrose, Alberta native is two points shy of 100 for his career (31g, 67a).

TEAM TOUGHNESS – This year, rather than one or two guys to shoulder the physicality load, there are several players who can make the opposition “answer the bell” when needed. Case in point, during the middle stages of the second period Saturday night. Wes Cunningham put a solid open-ice Krushelnyski, which resulted in Jacob Poe fighting James Melindy. Another instance came in the late stages of the period when Kale Kessy got in Greenham’s crease, causing the Thunder netminder not to move around as freely as he liked. The result? Greenham gave Kessy a few blockers to the face, and the entire line on the ice stood in to help their netminder. These are the little things last year’s team was missing.

BRABHAM CUP CHAMPS COMING TO TOWN – The winners of last year’s regular season title, the Missouri Mavericks, will make their first appearance in INTRUST Bank Arena this Friday night.  Last year, the Mavericks went 13-2-0 in 15 games against Wichita, but a lot has changed. John-Scott Dickson has replaced Richard Matvichuk behind the bench and the team has lost quite a bit of offense from last year; Jesse Root is playing overseas and Tyler Barnes is in the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization. The Mavs are coming off a bad weekend against the Allen Americans, losing both games by a combined score of 10-3.

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