The Wichita Thunder traveled north to take on their instate rival, the Kansas City Mavericks, on Tuesday night. It was the fifth game of this seven game road trip that has seen the Thunder play well through the first four, going 2-1-1. Shane Starrett made his first start in seven games, and played well, but Adam Carlson proved to be a little better, stopping 20 shtots in leading the Mavericks to a 3-1 victory.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net through the first period of the game. Wichita Thunder goaltender Shane Starrett was far busier, facing 11 shots to just 6 for Kansas City Mavericks netminder Adam Carlson.
In the second, the Kansas City Mavericks would finally break the scoreless tie. At 11:53 and with Kansas City on the power-play, Bryce Aneloski fired a shot that Starrett made a great toe save on, but the Thunder defense did not clear out Jared VanWormer, who put the rebound under the Wichita goaltender’s pad for his 17th goal of the season.
The Mavericks had a number of great chances to extend their lead. The first came at 13:21 when Greg Betzold took a wrist shot that the Thunder netminder saved, but the rebound came to Tyler Elbrecht. He fired a quick shot but, once again, Starrett came across the crease to block the puck.
The pressure continued and 18 seconds later Betzold had another golden opportunity that the Thunder goalie stopped. The rebound was loose, and eventually went onto the stick of Mark Cooper, who looked to go up high, but a great glove save denied him that chance.
With 1:07 left in the second, Starrett made a great save. VanWormer made a great play to free himself on a breakaway, entering the Thunder end before firing a wrist shot, but the Thunder goalie kicked the attempt away with a beautiful pad save.
The Wichita Thunder had been dominated through the first two periods, outshot 32-13, and it had only been the heroic work of Starrett that had kept this a one goal game. However, the Thunder took no time tying the score in the third.
Just 18 seconds into the final frame, it would be Mark MacMillan that would tie the score. Travis Brown gained control of the puck in his own end and fired a long pass down the boards to MacMillan, who sped into the Mavericks end down the wing. He fired a shot over the shoulder of Carlson and into the goal for his 19th goal of the year.
It took a little over three minutes for Kansas City to retake the lead. Pressure helped to generate the goal. Corey Durocher fired a shot that was saved by Starrett, but Shawn Pauly jumped on the rebound and put it in for his 21st goal of the year.
At 6:59 of the third, the Mavericks extended their lead to two. Cooper fired a shot that looked like it deflected off a Thunder defender and into the net. It was the 20th goal of the year for Cooper, and made it 3-1 Kansas City. Jared VanWormer earned an assist on the play, his second point of the game, and Bryce Aneloski earned his second assist of the contest.
The Thunder pulled their goalie with about two minutes left in the contest, but were unable to close the gap. Adam Carlson would finish with 20 saves for his 17th win of the year. Shane Starrett finished with 41 saves.
The Wichita Thunder move onto Kalamazoo where they will take on the Wings Thursday night. The face-off is scheduled for 6:00 Wichita time.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier