Williams Stymies Thunder, Extends Losing Streak to Five
The Wichita Thunder dropped their fifth straight game on Sunday, losing to the Tulsa Oilers for the fourth straight time, 3-2. The Oilers scored a goal in each period, and Devin Williams stopped 37 of 39 shots to lead his team to victory. Mike McKee had a goal and an assist to lead the offense. Evan Weninger stopped 32 shots for Wichita.
The Oilers scored the only goal at first period, taking the lead 11:22 into the contest. A terrible clearing pass landed right on the stick of McKee outside the Thunder zone. He moved in on a 2-on-1, firing a slapshot that beat Weninger for his second goal of the year.
The Oilers held the 1-0 leading into the first intermission, outshooting Wichita, 14-13. However, the Thunder came out of the locker room controlling the tempo early on and that lead to a goal 2:30 into the second period. Brayden Watts passed the puck to Peter Crinella near the right face-off circle. Crinella moved across the slot, then fired a wrist shot that beat Williams to the glove side for his eighth goal of the year.
A little over five minutes later, Tulsa moved back in front. McKee passed the puck down along the boards where Tyler Kobryn scooped it up just outside the Wichita zone. He sped into the zone, making a move that got the Thunder defenseman down before cruising across a slot, beating Weninger with a wrist shot to make it 2-1.
The Thunder were trailing by a goal once again, but would even the score 8:51 into the third thanks to a power-play goal. Austin McIllmurray fired a shot from the left face-off circle that Williams saved, but the rebound came right to Matteo Gennaro who knocked in the loose puck with his 11th tally of the year.
The third period was a wide-open affair, with Wichita outshooting Tulsa, 17-15. Numerous scoring opportunities abounded, but the Oilers would retake the lead just after the 14-minute mark. With Tulsa on the power-play, Danny Moynihan fired a shot from the point that Weninger saved, but the rebound was loose to his right. Adam Pleskach sped in and knocked the loose puck in for his sixth goal of the season. It was also the 200th professional goal for Pleskach.
The Thunder were down by one for the third time in this contest, but they were not coming back this time. Wichita had just two shots over the final six minutes. Williams stopped both, finishing with 37 saves.
The loss dropped Wichita to 20-9-5. They are clinging to the second spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder welcome the Indy Fuel on Wednesday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier