Söderlund Leads Thunder in Rout of Oilers, 5-1
WICHITA, KS – Tim Söderlund scored his first goal and added two assists, leading the Wichita Thunder to a 5-1 victory over the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday, helping the team to complete their two-game weekend sweep. Wichita blew open a one-goal game with three third period goals. Matteo Gennaro had a pair of goals and Evan Buitenhuis continues to shine, stopping 27 shots to earn his sixth victory of the season.
Wichita took a 1-0 lead 10:08 into the contest. The goal was setup by a great individual effort by Söderlund. He stickhandled between two Oilers defenders along the boards, before moving the puck down behind the net to Brayden Watts. Watts fed it back to Söderlund, who quickly fed it through the slot to Gennaro who redirected the puck past Mason McDonald for his fourth goal of the year.
Tulsa had outshot Wichita 9-5 in the first period, but could not get anything past Buitenhuis, who made two fantastic saves. His team rewarded him with a goal 13:23 into the second period, extending the lead to two. The puck was pinned along the boards behind the Wichita net. That drew the two Tulsa defensemen in looking for the puck to squirt loose so they had a chance at a goal, but it was Andrew Shewfelt who gained control, passing it ahead to Söderlund who had slipped past the Tulsa defensemen. He headed the opposite way on a breakaway, beating McDonald with a quick backhander for his first goal of the year.
Tulsa quickly responded, scoring four minutes later to cut the deficit back to one. Eddie Matsushima passed the puck to Jimmy Soper, who moved across the slot, getting the Thunder defenseman to shield Buitenhuis before firing a wrist shot that beat the Wichita goaltender to make it a 2-1 game.
That sent the game to the third period, where Tulsa dominated early, creating two great scoring chances early on, but it would Wichita that would dominate over the last 11 minutes of the period. Christian Hausinger fired a wrist shot from the point at 9:13 that beat McDonald to extend the lead back to two. For Hausinger, it was his first professional goal.
Four minutes later, Jay Dickman passed the puck to Peter Crinella in the mid-slot, just to the right of McDonald. With his back to the net, Crinella was looking to make a pass, but decided to go to his backhand, beating the Oilers goaltender for his sixth goal of the year.
With a little over four minutes left in the game, Gennaro capped off the scoring with his second goal of the contest. Dean Stewart fired a shot from the point that Gennaro tipped past McDonald for his fifth goal of the year. That made it 5-1, which would be the final.
Buitenhuis has started all 11 games for Wichita, moving to 6-5-0. McDonald stopped 20 of 25 shots for Tulsa. Wichita had 11 players find the scoresheet.
The Thunder will get a little break before returning to the ice on Thanksgiving eve when they welcome the Rapid City Rush. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier