The Wichita Thunder find that their woes continued Saturday night, as they dropped their 15th game in their last 16, this time losing to the Fort Wayne Komets, 6-0. The Komets put on an impressive offensive showcase, led by Trevor Cheek, who recorded a hat trick with goals in each period, and Garrett Bartus blanked the Thunder, keeping Wichita scoreless for the second straight game.
The Wichita Thunder looked like they would grab the lead a little over three minutes into the first period, when David Friedmann corralled the puck behind the Komets net while Bartus was out of position. He quickly moved in front looking to shoot the puck into the near empty net, but Jason Binkley came out of nowhere to knock the puck away from Friedmann and foil the opportunity.
That proved to be huge, because less than a minute later Shawn Szydlowski would give the Fort Wayne Komets the lead. With Wichita on the power-play, Dan Milan gained control of the puck in front of his own net and sent Szydlowski out of his end down the right side boards on a 2-on-1. He passed to the center, but the puck deflected off Macoy Erkamps skate and past Scott Greenham to make it 1-0. That was Szydlowski’s 22nd goal of the year.
A little less than nine minutes later the Komets extended their lead to two. Garrett Thompson had received a pass in front of the net where he was standing all alone, but he could not get off a good shot and the puck went back to the left side. However, they say that good things come to he who waits, and this is exactly what happened as the puck came back to Thompson at the side of the net, who buried it for his 16th goal of the year.
A little over a minute later the lead would be three. With the faceoff to the right of Greenham, Trevor Cheek won the draw and simply stepped right through the Thunder player and toward the goal. He then fired a wrist shot that went in for his 10th goal of the year.
The Thunder looked like they would get that goal back at the 15:55 mark when Louick Marcotte fired a shot that somehow got through the pads of Bartus and began to trickle toward the goal line. However, with the puck just millimeters from it crossing the goal line, the Fort Wayne goalie reached back and pulled it under his glove to save the goal and keep Wichita scoreless.
The Komets would head to the first break leading by three, despite the fact that they were outshot 10-6. In the second, Fort Wayne dominated the period early and that paid off with two more goals that would chase Greenham.
The first of those came just 2:07 into the frame. Brett Perlini passed out into the slot area where Cody Sol fired a shot that looked like it deflected off the Thunder goalie’s stick and into the net. That was his fourth goal of the year.
At the 7:48 mark they would extend their lead to five. Szydlowski had the puck in the right corner of the Thunder end. He then made a great pass across the goal mouth to Cheek, who was standing on the other side of the goal. He tipped the puck in for his 11th goal of the season and that would be it for Greenham.
With about four minutes left in the second, the Thunder were back on the power-play and looking to get back into this game. They peppered Bartus with a series of shots, but the Komets goalie made three brilliant saves, and his defense ensured that no Wichita player could get into position for the rebound. That sent the teams to the second break with Fort Wayne leading 5-0.
Into the third the game went, where Cheek would complete the hat trick. At the 8:08 mark, Szydlowski passed to Cheek who was streaking alone down the slot area. He took the pass and went to his backhand, where he beat Drew Owsley for his third goal of the game.
Garrett Bartus stopped all 27-shots he faced in recording his third shutout of the season. He now moves to 17-6-1-0. Trevor Cheeks had 3-goals. Shawn Sydlowski added a goal and 2-assists, and Brett Perlini had 2-assists for the Fort Wayne Komets. Drew Owsley saved 9 of the 10-shots he faced after coming in to relieve.
No rest for the weary, as the Wichita Thunder now head to Moline, IL to take on the Quad Cities Mallards on Sunday. Game time is 4:00.
By Robert Pannier