The Wichita Thunder finished their mini-road trip on Saturday night, traveling two and a half hours north to take on the Kansas City Mavericks. Thanks to the outstanding play of goaltender Shane Starrett, who saved 33 shots through the first two periods, the Thunder were able to overcome the early onslaught, and used four unanswered goals to battle back and win this contest against their rival 4-1. Kyle Platzer added two assists to extend his point streak to six to begin the year, and Mark MacMillan added two goals in the victory.
The Mavericks would get the scoreboard first, the first time this season that the Thunder did not score first and the first time that they have trailed in a game in 2017-18. At the 12:30 mark, Dan Correale passed to Darren Nowick who put in his first goal of the season to make it 1-0.
It would stay that way for seven minutes when Zach O’Brien would tie the score with 36 seconds left in the first period. Kyle Platzer passed to O’Brien, who approached the net with a great deal of speed. He made a nice move to his backhand before tucking the puck into the net to tie the score at one.
Kansas City dominated the first period, peppering 18 shots on Shane Starrett, but he only allowed the one tally. In the second it would be much of the same, as the Mavericks put 16 more shots on net. That included two breakaways where the Thunder goaltender was not to be beaten.
At the 13:45 mark, Mike McMurtry broke in all alone, but Starrett was not to be fooled, knocking the shot away. With a little over a minute left in the period it was Nowick who took a pass near center ice and headed for the Wichita end. Once again, the Wichita goalie was not allowing another goal past.
That helped to preserve the 2-1 lead that Jeremy Beaudry gave his team 3:56 of the second period. Louick Marcotte passed the puck to Beaudry who blasted the one-timer for his second goal of the season.
The Mavericks had their chances early, but they would be dominated in the final period. Wichita outshot Kansas City 15-7, scoring two goals, both by Mark MacMillan.
The first came less than a minute into the period. Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin fired a shot that bounced off the boards and out toward the faceoff circle. MacMillan quickly fired it in on net for his third goal of the season to make it 3-1.
A little more than five minutes later it would be 4-1. MacMillan was absolutely being mugged by the side of the net, but broke free to corral a loose puck and fired it into the net for his third goal of the year. That made it 4-1, which would be the final.
The Wichita Thunder moved to 6-0-0 on the season, the second time in franchise history that they have started out with wins in the first six games of the year. Shane Starrett stopped 40 of 41 shots to move to 3-0-0 on the year. Mark MacMillan added 2 goals in the contest, and both Istvan Sofron and Kyle Platzer had 2 assists.
The Thunder are off until Friday night when they will welcome the Allen Americans to Wichita for the first time this season. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier