The Wichita Thunder returned to Cincinnati looking to end their seven game road winless streak (0-6-1). Twice the team took a one goal lead, only to see the Cyclones tie the score each time, but Nick Latta’s goal with 2:24 left in the contest proved to be the game winner, as the Thunder went on to win, 3-2. Travis Ewanyk had a goal and an assist in the win, and Shane Starrett made 22 saves.
The Wichita Thunder took the lead a little over eight minutes into the game. Marc-Olivier Crevier-Moron gained control of the puck in the neutral zone and maneuvered his way through the zone and into the Cincinnati end, maintaining control of the puck despite several attempts to knock the puck off of his stick. He fired a shot that Jonas Johansson was able to save, but the rebound was loose in front of the net. Travis Ewanyk sped toward the net, corralled the puck and put it past the Cyclones goaltender for his 12th goal of the year.
The Thunder kept the lead heading into the first intermission, but the Cyclones would tie the score with a little less than six minutes left in the second period. Anthony Florentino came down the slot and fired a shot that Thunder goalie Shane Starrett was able to save, but Brandon McNally skated in unchecked and put the rebound in for his ninth goal of the year.
The Thunder would retake the lead thanks to a highlight reel goal by Jeremy Beaudry. At the 3:30 mark of the third period, the defenseman gained control of the puck in his own end and burst through the neutral zone, stick-handling his way through the Cyclones defense. He kept the puck into the Cincinnati end and drove toward the net, moving to his backhand and putting the puck past Johansson for his 10th goal of the year. That made it 2-1.
Exactly 13 minutes later, the Cyclones would tie the score. With the faceoff in the Thunder end, Mike Barrett won the draw to Brandon McNally who fired a shot that Starrett never saw. The puck went in for his 10th goal of the season and second of the game.
Cincinnati was fired up, but Wichita retook the lead just 66 seconds later. Travis Brown had control of the puck at the Cyclones blueline and made a great move to completely fool the defenseman as he headed toward the net. Brown fired a shot toward the goal that Nick Latta redirected into the net for his fifth goal of the year. That made it 3-2.
The Cincinnati Cyclones pulled their goalie looking for the equalizer, but Starrett stopped two shots in the closing seconds to preserve the victory. That ended the winless streak at seven.
Travis Ewanyk scored a goal and added an assist for the Wichita Thunder. Shane Starrett saved 22 shots for his 15th win of the season. Brandon McNally scored 2 goals for the Cyclones.
The Wichita Thunder return home to begin a five game homestand. The Thunder take on the Rapid City Rush on Friday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier