Combs Two Goals Leads Thunder to 4-2 Victory
It was Veterans Day on Monday and what better way for the Wichita Thunder to celebrate than with their veteran forward leading the way to a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks. Jack Combs scored two goals in the second period to lead the offense and Evan Weninger made 34 saves to earn his first victory of the season.
The Thunder were controlling play through much of the first 13 minutes of the contest, but the ice would begin to tilt in the Mavericks direction with about seven minutes left in the frame. That would help lead to a goal for Kansas City at 16:05. Bryan Lemos battled for the puck behind the Thunder goal and eventually came away with it. He fed the puck out to Loren Ulett who beat Weninger for his third goal of the season
Kansas City lead 1-0 coming out of the first intermission, but Jack Combs tied the score just 12 seconds into the second. After getting control of the puck to begin the second period, Jason Salvaggio carried the puck into the Kansas City end. He made a pass to Spencer Dorowicz who continued the tic-tac-toe setup to Jack Combs, who put it past Nick Schneider for his second goal of the year.
With a little over two minutes left in the second, Combs added his second goal of the game. Dorowicz’s shot from the point was saved by Schneider, but the rebound came right to Combs who put the rebound in to give Wichita a 2-1 lead.
Thirty seconds later, Ostap Safin fed the puck to Stefan Fournier in the neutral zone. He entered the Kansas City end on a 2-on-1 break, holding the puck as he moved in on Schneider. Fournier quickly swept across the net then went to his backhand, lifting the puck just inside the post for his fifth goal of the year. That made it 3-1 Thunder.
The Mavericks reduced their deficit to one at 12:23 of the third period. The power-play goal by
Rocco Carzo came on a beautiful feed by Cliff Watson. It was the 100th goal of Carzo’s ECHL career.
With around two minutes left in the game, the Mavericks pulled Schneider for the extra attacker. However, it would be the Wichita Thunder who would get back on the board when Beau Starrett added the empty net goal with 1:28 left in the contest.
Weninger made the two goal lead stand with an exceptional night between the pipes. This was especially true in the second and third periods when the stopped 27 combined shots. For the night, Weninger saved 34 of 36 in earning his first win since joining the Thunder.
Nine different Thunder players recorded points on the night, led by Combs and his two goals and Dorowicz and his two assists.
Wichita moves into a tie for the third in the Central Division with the Idaho Steelheads. The Thunder jump back into action on Wednesday night when they welcome the Rapid City Rush. The opening faceoff is set for 7:05
By Robert Pannier