The Wichita Thunder would see the friendly confines of INTRUST Bank Arena for the last time in two weeks, as Wednesday night’s contest was the last home game before the team begins a six game road trip. Early on the team looked sluggish but, after falling behind 1-0, scored three unanswered goals on their way to a 3-1 victory. Chad Butcher scored his first goal in a Thunder uniform and Travis Ewanyk added 2 assists. Joel Rumpel continued his hot streak, winning his sixth straight game.
It did not take long for the Mavericks to get on the board. Just 74 seconds into the contest, Hunter Smith took a shot on net from the right of Wichita goalie Joel Rumpel. Rumpel made the save, but the rebound came right to Dan Correale who put it in for his third goal of the year.
The Thunder had their chances in the period, but two unlucky breaks kept them out of the net. Both Ralph Cuddemi and Matt DeBlouw took shots that beat Kansas City goalkeeper Tyler Parsons, but each rattled off the post and harmlessly away. With 24 seconds left in the first, it looked like Wichita had the equalizer when Travis Ewanyk took a shot that was saved. The puck bounced right to Cuddemi who looked like he had a wide open net, but Parsons came out of nowhere to make a great kick save to keep his team on top 1-0.
After being shutout in the first period, Wichita would finally breakthrough just 39 seconds into the second. Ewanyk passed the puck back to Travis Brown at the point who fired a wrist shot over Parson’s left shoulder for his fifth goal of the season.
At the 5:23 mark of the third period the Thunder would take their first lead of the game. After Chad Butcher led a 2-on-1 into the Mavericks zone, Wichita kept the pressure on, keeping Kansas City from being able to clear the puck out. Eventually the puck was passed by Ewanyk out from along the boards to Butcher who moved in front of the net and fired a wrist shot over Parson’s glove for his first goal of the season.
About seven minutes into the third it looked like Kansas City would get the equalizer when they had three shots in rapid succession, each of which Rumpel made a great save on. First was Bryce Aneloski, who took a shot from near the net, which the Wichita goalie kicked out to Mark Cooper who fired a shot that Rumpel made a kick save on, right to Cooper again, who took a shot up high that the Thunder netminder pulled into his chest and hung onto drawing a whistle.
About three minutes later, Matt DeBlouw made the lead two. Greg Chase passed the puck to DeBlouw just after he entered the Kansas City end. The Thunder winger moved down the slot and beat the Mavericks goalie with a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season.
Chad Butcher had a goal and an assist for the Wichita Thunder. Travis Ewanyk added 2 assists. Joel Rumpel saved 29 shots on net for his ninth win of the season. Tyler Parsons played well in a losing effort for the Mavericks, stopping 23 shots.
The Thunder now head to the road where they will play their next six games, starting Saturday night in Indy. The puck drops at 6:35 local time.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier