Wichita, KS (November 15th) – On a night when the local military personnel were honored for their great service, Wichita (2-8-3) was unable to hold onto an early lead losing Friday night to the Tulsa Oilers (5-6-2) by the final of 7-4 at INTRUST Bank Arena. Andrew Martens led the way for the Thunder scoring a pair of first-period goals. Wichita trails in the StoneWolf Casino Cup series two games to one with the last of three-straight meetings against Tulsa tomorrow night.
Wichita kept the momentum going from Tuesday night's win in Tulsa and scored three in the opening 20 minutes. After a hooking penalty was assessed to Ryan Cramer, Wichita grabbed a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest. Martens scored his first of two with a shot from the blue line that caught iron and got behind Ross MacKinnon. Less than a minute and a half later, Wichita increased the lead to 2-0 when a Thomas Beaureguard stuff attempt ended up in front of the net and RG Flath banged it home. Martens closed out the first-period scoring with his second at 15:06 after receiving a pass at the left circle from Tomas Klempa. With a 3-0 advantage, Wichita chased MacKinnon from the pipes making it the second game in a row against the Oilers that the starter was given the hook.
The change in net provided a spark for the Oilers as they outscored the Thunder 3-1 in the second period. Wichita came out on fire at the start, but Shane Madolora turned aside several point-blank chances including a flurry from Klempa and another on Matt Robinson from in-close. The Oilers used that energy and got on the board at 13:26 with a goal from Brandon Coccimiglio to cut the lead to 3-1. Kyle Bochek made it 3-2 at 15:22 with a power play goal after stuffing home a loose puck to the side of Taylor Nelson. Wichita tried to slow down the furious charge and re-gained a two-goal advantage on a redirection goal from Klempa at 17:43. Late in the period, the Oilers took advantage of a power play and scored with 13 seconds to go. Michel Beausoleil caught a pass to the left of Nelson's net and scored to cut the lead to 4-3 entering the final period.
The Oilers would score five-unanswered en route to the win and four in the third period. Just before the halfway point of the third, Tulsa appeared to tie the game but the official waved off the marker, ruling the puck was kicked in the net and Wichita continued to lead 4-3. At 10:46, Todd Robinson tied it with assists to Drew Fisher and Michel Beausoleil. The Oilers would take the lead just 23 seconds later when Ryan Cramer fired a sharp angle shot from outside the face-off dot.
Wichita tried to light a spark themselves and for the first time this season, Nelson was lifted bringing Torrie Jung into the game. Tulsa sat back defensively and was content to dump the puck out of the zone the rest of the way trying to force Wichita to skate the full length of the ice. Trailing by one with less than two minutes, Tulsa added two empty-net goals that put the contest out of reach. Eric Tallent stole a loose puck to the right of Madolora and fired a shot that got in the empty goal with Jung pulled. The Oilers tacked on another from Coccimiglio for the 7-4 victory.
Wichita surpassed its highest offensive output at home scoring four times. The Thunder also gave up a season-high seven goals and a four-goal third period. Klempa finished with a goal and an assist while Jesse Dudas (2a), Beaureguard (2a) and Nick McParland (2a) each had two points on the night. Nelson took the loss, stopping 23 of 28 shots. Madolora earned the win in relief, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Wichita went 1-for-4 on the power play while Tulsa was 2-for-4.
Wichita remains home tomorrow night to finish a three-game set against Tulsa at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night is Guy's Night Out, present by Hajoca. Local Bellator star David 'The Caveman' Rickels will be in attendance to drop the ceremonial face-off. There is also a special four-pack that includes four green level tickets, four pocket schedules and four poster schedules for just $44! Tomorrow night is also the first post-game party of the season that will take place at Jose Pepper's located on the east side at 13th and Greenwich.
Individual game tickets are on sale now. Season tickets and mini plans are still available. Don’t delay, contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625. Stay up-to-date on all the news this off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.