Dickman, Manchurek Lead Thunder Past Mavericks, 5-4
WICHITA, KS – Jay Dickman and Joe Manchurek each scored two goals as the Wichita Thunder ended their nine-game home winless streak, defeating the Kansas City Mavericks on Sunday, 5-4. The victory was the first at home since defeating the Rapid City Rush on November 28. Logan Fredericks added two assists and Jake Theut made 38 saves.
Things did not get off on the right foot for Wichita as Kansas City took the lead 6:20 into the contest. Loren Ulett fired a shot from above the right faceoff circle that hit off the skate of a Thunder player and right to Bryan Lemos, who beat Theut with a one-timer to put the Mavericks on top 1-0.
The Thunder responded 93 seconds later. Fredericks won the draw inside the Mavericks zone back to Sean Allen. Allen blasted a laser from the along boards at the point that Daniil Chechelev never seemed to see. For Allen, it was his second goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Kansas City was back on top. A bad giveaway at the blueline gave the puck to Bailey Conger, who moved toward Theut on a 2-on-1 break. Conger looked like he was wanted to pass the puck, but went for the wrist shot, beating the Thunder netminder to the blocker side to make it 2-1.
For the next nine minutes, it was all Wichita. Dickman tied the score just after the 13-minute mark. With Wichita on the power-play, Carter Johnson made a pass-shot toward the goal that Dickman tipped up into the upper corner for his 10th goal of the season.
Just before the 17-minute mark, Manchurek scored the first goal of his professional career. Michal Stinil battled through a poke check at the Mavericks blueline, moving in on Chechelev on a 2-on-1 break. As he moved toward the net, he passed the puck across the crease to Manchurek who redirected the puck in to give the Thunder the lead.
Wichita held a 3-2 lead heading to the first break and they had totally dominated play, outshooting Kansas City, 23-7. In the second, the tables turned as the Mavericks outshot Wichita 21-5, generating a number of scoring chances. However, Theut stood strong, setting aside all 21 shots.
The Thunder looked to seal the victory, scoring two goals early in the third period. The first came at 3:39 when Dickman netted his second goal of the game. Fredericks set up the goal, controlling the puck behind the Mavericks net, moving toward the left corner, before turning back the other direction, fending off two Kansas City defensemen along the way. As he got out of the trapezoid, Fredericks passed the puck in front to Dickman who buried the one-timer. That was the second assist of the game for Fredericks, the first two-point performance of his professional career.
At 6:26, Manchurek netted his second goal of the night. Manchurek setup the play, outracing a Kansas City player to wave off icing. Manchurek moved the puck to David Thompson at the left goal post, who fed it back to his former college teammate at the far post. Manchurek redirected it in for his second professional goal, giving the Thunder a 5-2 lead.
The Mavericks had given up four unanswered goals, but they kept playing, pulling within one after scoring a pair of power-play goals. The first came at 9:18 when Ulett put home a rebound to pull the Mavericks within two.
With 1:04 left and Chechelev on the bench for the extra attacker, Kansas City was patiently moving the puck around looking for the perfect shot. Nick Pastujov took a pass from Marcus Crawford, moving in to just inside the right faceoff circle before firing a wrist shot that beat Theut over the shoulder.
The Mavericks pulled Chechelev once again looking for the equalizer, but the Thunder were able to hold on for the 5-4 victory. The win snapped a five-game winless streak, moving Wichita to 13-20-5.
The Thunder will welcome the Newfoundland Growlers for the first time in franchise history on Wednesday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier