For Thunder, It’s Stewart, Buitenhuis, and Bears – Oh My!
WICHITA, KS – It was teddy bear night at INTRUST Bank Arena, and the Wichita Thunder did not disappoint fans, scoring less than two minutes into the contest on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Tulsa Oilers. Dean Stewart scored a goal and added an assist and Evan Buitenhuis continues to shine, stopping 37 shots.
Tim Soderlund brought the teddy bears down, scoring just 1:43 into the contest. The forward circled behind the net, moved out above the circle, then came across the slot, waiting to get a screen in front of Daniel Mannella. Soderlund then fired a wrist shot that beat the Tulsa goaltender for his second goal of the season. That brought thousands of teddy bears down onto the ice.
Tulsa dominated much of the first period, outshooting Wichita, 11-9. However, Buitenhuis was dominate. Making his 13th straight start, the Thunder goaltender kept his team on top, making a number of outstanding saves.
His team staked him to a two-goal lead 5:53 into the second period. Jay Dickman made a great pass through the neutral zone to Stewart just before he entered the Oilers zone. Stewart moved just above the left faceoff circle before firing a wrist shot that beat Mannella for his second goal of the year.
Once again, Tulsa dominated this frame, outshooting Wichita, 16-6. They were simply unable to find any openings past Buitenhuis, who stoned every attempt the Oilers could bring.
Just 46 seconds into the third, the Thunder made their lead three goals. While on the power-play, Stewart fired a shot that Mannella saved, but Matteo Gennaro put the rebound in for his sixth goal of the season.
Buitenhuis stopped the first 37 shots he faced, but the Oilers finally broke through at 14:46. Eddie Matsushima passed the puck to Dylan Sadowy, who beat the Thunder netminder for his sixth goal of the year. That made it 3-1, but Tulsa would get no closer.
Brayden Watts finished with two assists for the Thunder. The assist extended Dickman’s point streak to six straight games.
The Thunder (7-5-1) welcome back the Rapid City Rush (6-6-2) on Saturday evening. Rapid City beat the Thunder in overtime last Wednesday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier