The Wichita Thunder returned home on Wednesday, looking to rebound after falling to the Tulsa Oilers on Tuesday, 4-2. It was two early goals that doomed the Thunder on Tuesday and that proved to be the case here as well, as the Thunder fell behind by two, battled back to tie the score before falling for the second straight night, 5-2. Tyler Soy and Ryan Tesink led the Tulsa offense with a goal and an assist, and Evan Fitzpatrick made 29 saves for the victory.
A little over a minute into the game, the Tulsa Oilers nearly took the lead. Tyler Soy fired a shot on Dylan Wells that he saved, but the rebound came right to Ian McNulty, who fired the puck back on net, but Wells came up with the save again. The puck came right back to McNulty who swept across the goal, trying to put the puck underneath the Thunder goaltender, but Wells was able to spread eagle to make the save to keep the game scoreless.
At 13:27 of the first, the Oilers would grab the lead. Dylan Bredo knocked the puck into the Wichita end, where Jared Thomas would beat a Thunder defender to the puck. He made a great pass to Roman Ammirato, who was skating down the slot unguarded. He swept in on Wells, sliding the puck between the Wichita goaltender’s legs to make it 1-0.
The Tulsa Oilers clung to the one goal lead heading into the second period, when a bad giveaway would allow them to extend their lead. An errant pass gave the puck to Soy, near the left faceoff circle. He passed it to Ryan Tesink, who was moving down the slot. Tesink fired a wrist shot that beat Wells over the shoulder for his second goal of the season.
With just under eight minutes left in the second, the Thunder would cut their deficit in half. Ralph Cuddemi’s shot on goal was saved by Evan Fitzpatrick, but the rebound came right to Jakob Stukel, who fired it in for his third goal of the season.
The Thunder would tie the score with a little less than two minutes left in the frame. Keoni Texeira passed the puck across the blue line to Travis Brown, who blasted a slap shot by the Oilers goalie, tying the score at two. That was the fifth goal of the year for Brown.
The score would be tied heading into the third, but the Oilers would retake the lead at 3:34 of the period. Tesink carried the puck down the boards, passing it front to Soy. He tipped it in for his second goal of the year to put Tulsa on top 3-2.
At the six minute mark, the Oilers would extend their lead to two. Alex Kromm carried the puck down the right boards. He passed to Scott Henegar who fired a wrist shot from about 20 feet out that beat Wells over his right shoulder to make it 4-2. That was Henegar’s third goal of the year.
With 20 seconds left in the game, the Oilers would add an empty net goal by Kromm. That made it 5-2, which would be the final. He would finish the night with a goal and an assist as well. Jared Thomas had two assists on the evening as did Dylan Bredo.
The Thunder are off until Friday when they will travel to Kansas City to take on the Mavericks. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier