WICHITA, KS — The team finished a stretch where they played 12 of their first 19 games at home to start the season. The schedule starts to balance out now, as the team hits the road for a seven-game road trip. Here is a look back at the last week of Thunder hockey and what you’ll be talking about at the water cooler.
Last Week’s Results (Home team in CAPS):
Wednesday: Indy 1 @ WICHITA 5 — Wichita earned their first, and only, regulation win of the month in a pasting of the Fuel. Danick Gauthier, Brandon Martell, and Kenton Miller led the Thunder offensive attack on Thanksgiving Eve.
Friday: Wichita 0 @ TULSA 2 — Kevin Carr claimed a 2-0 shutout for Tulsa on Black Friday, stopping all 24 shots he faced. For Carr, it was his first shutout against the Thunder
Saturday: Tulsa 4 @ WICHITA 2 — After trading goals in the first two periods, Brady Ramsay scored the game-winner during a shorthanded situation to help Tulsa eke out a 4-2 win. The game featured four fights in the second period and 66 penalty minutes in the contest. Oilers goaltender Kevin Carr improved to 14-2-0-0 against Wichita.
Team Leaders (as of 12/3):
Goals: Gauthier — 5
Assists: Sakaris — 8
Points: Sakaris — 12
PIM: Milan — 39
Shots on Goal: Sakaris and Gauthier — 48
Wins: Shantz — 4
Team Transactions (as of 12/3):
11/20 – Added (D) Daniel Johnston via trade with Idaho
11/20 – Released (D) Ryan Ruikka
11/24 – Traded (D) Andrew Blazek to Norfolk
12/01 – Traded (D) Daniel Johnston and (F) Anthony Deluca to Alaska for (D) Landon Oslanski and (F) Dean Chelios
12/02 – Signed (D) Martin Nemcik to contract, placed on reserve
ECHL Central Division Standings (as of 12/3):
This Week’s Schedule (Home team in CAPS):
Saturday: Wichita @ MISSOURI 7:05pm Silverstein Eye Centers Arena — Independence, MO [gmap addr=”19100 E Valley View Pkwy, Independence, MO 64055″]Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, Independence, MO[/gmap]
Hello, My Name Is… Head coach Kevin McClelland will need to break out those introductory stickers as he attempts to rebuild the team through trade and the free agent market. Acquired since the last update is forward Dean Chelios and defenseman Landon Oslanski. The team also signed defenseman Martin Nemcik and placed him on reserve.
Famous Bloodlines: The acquisition of Dean Chelios, makes him the second player from the Chelios bloodline to play in Wichita. Dean, is the son of NHL Hall of Famer, Chris.
Dean’s uncle, Steve, played in Wichita from 1992-94, helping the team win the first of back-to-back Central Hockey League championships. In 73 regular season games with the club, Steve collected 75 points (12G, 63A) and 185 PIM.
Go Time: Danick Gauthier was the Thunder’s best offensive player this past week. The Brossard, PQ native has five goals in the last four games, two of which were on the power play and finished with two multi-goal outings. He finished with 29 last season and leads the team in that department through 16 games this year.
Huff Rolling: Andy Huff has been a pleasant surprise for the Thunder upfront this season. He has already eclipsed his career marks for goals (4), assists (7) and points (11) through 14 games. Last year, he bounced around between Florida, Rapid City and Idaho, appearing in 21 games and recording eight points (1g, 7a) over that span. The Ferris State product is second on the team in points and tied for 16th in points among rookies.
Helping Hands: Mason Baptista has three assists in his last four games. He made a terrific pass across on Saturday night that helped the Thunder to a 2-1 lead after the first period. The former St. Norbert College product has nine points (4g, 5a) so far this season.
Shantz Strong: David Shantz had another solid week, stopping 47 of 50 shots he faced. Shantz currently is 18th in save percentage (.914) and 20th in goals-against average (2.54).
Third Period Struggles: A staple of past Kevin McClelland teams was the team’s ability to closeout games. That has been lacking with this Thunder team so far. The team is being outscored 27-10 in final stanzas this season.
On the Road Again: The Thunder will open a seven-game road trip this Saturday night and will not return to INTRUST Bank Arena until December 20, when the team hosts the Cincinnati Cyclones for the first time ever. Let’s hope the equipment manager packs the offense. In seven games away from home this season, the team has scored 10 goals.