Ibragimov Hat Trick Leads Thunder in Blowout of Mavericks
WICHITA, KS – Timur Ibragimov netted the first hat trick of his professional career, helping to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 7-1 blowout victory of the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday. Wichita blew open a one goal game, scoring four in the second period. Brayden Watts had two goals and an assist and Strauss Mann stopped 35 shots. The win was the third in a row for Wichita.
The Thunder scored the only goal of the first period, as Ibragimov netted his seventh goal of the season 2:09 into the contest. Peter Bates moved the puck to Ibragimov at the right face-off circle, who lifted a wrist shot past Mavericks netminder Shane Starrett to make it 1-0.
The one goal advantage held through the first intermission, as Kansas City dominated much of the first period, outshooting Wichita 16-9. However, the Thunder exploded in the second, scoring four goals in the span of 10 minutes.
Watts scored his 20th goal of the season 4:12 into the second. Jay Dickman won to battle behind the net, gaining control the puck and dumping it out in front to Watts. The forward redirected the puck past Starrett to extend the lead to two.
A little over two minutes later it was Ibragimov scoring his second goal of the night. Brett Van Os fired a wrist shot that Starrett saved, but the rebound bounced below, allowing Ibragimov to quickly speed in, putting in the loose puck to make it 3-0.
The Thunder power-play delivered the next two goals, starting at 11:33 when Quinn Preston netted his 16th goal of the season. This time it was Ibragimov setting up his teammate, delivering a perfect pass to Preston just inside the right face-off circle. He fired home a one-timer to make it 4-0.
At 14:38, the red-hot Dickman scored on the power-play to make it a five-goal advantage. Watts lifted a shot that Dickman redirected past the Mavericks netminder for his 12th goal in his last 14 games. That chased Starrett from the contest.
Mann Kansas City off the scoreboard through the first two periods, but the Mavericks got on the board 2:15 into the third. John Schiavo took a shot that hit off a skate and went right to Loren Ulett, who beat Mann to make it 5-1.
However, Wichita was not going to let Kansas City get off the mat. Ibragimov completed his hat trick at 10:33, beating Callum Booth with a wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season. Watts scored his second goal of the game a little less than three minutes later to finish off the 7-1 victory.
Ibragimov finished with four points overall, a single game high. Bates and Cole MacDonald each had two assists for Wichita. Mann won his third straight decision and now has stopped at least 31 shots in six straight games.
The Wichita Thunder (23-13-3) head to the road starting on Wednesday when they travel to take on the Idaho Steelheads (29-7-1) Idaho has the top record in the Mountain Division, 10 points ahead of the second place Thunder. The puck drops at 8:05 Wichita time.
by Robert Pannier