Gorsuch Stars in Thunder Debut, 3-1
WICHITA, KS – Likely needing four victories in their final five games of the season to make the playoffs, the Wichita Thunder needed a big performance from their netminder and Trevor Gorsuch delivered in his debut with the team, stopping 36 shots to lead Wichita to a 3-1 victory over the Tulsa Oilers on Wednesday morning. Gorsuch had spent time with the Kalamazoo Wings, Maine Mariners, and Florida Everblades, but may have found a home for the remainder of the season and the Thunder may have found their netminder to lead them into the playoffs. Wichita is tied with the Kansas City Mavericks and Utah Grizzlies, each with 67 points.
After a scoreless first period, Jay Dickman put Wichita on top, netting his 25th goal of the season 4:34 into the second. Brett Boeing took a shot that Riley Morris saved, but Dickman fought through a defender to put the rebound in to make it 1-0.
Just 31 seconds later, the Thunder were back on the board. Peter Bates fed the puck to Michal Stinil at the left faceoff circle, who blasted a one-timer by Morris for his 28th goal of the year.
The Oilers had no answers for Gorsuch, but finally broke through when Dante Sheriff scored with 78 seconds left in the second. Tyler Poulsen passed the puck to Sheriff at the left faceoff circle, who fired a shot that hit off a skate, deflecting by Gorsuch for his 12th of the year.
The Thunder clung to the one-goal advantage, but gained a little breathing room when Bates scored 7:14 into the second. After Quinn Preston took a shot, the puck was loose in the crease. Stinil tried to push it past Morris but could not get enough it. However, Bates was able to put it in for his 18th goal of the year.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak. Bates and Stinil both had a goal and an assist. Gorsuch moved to 2-1 overall this season with the victory.
The Wichita Thunder (31-31-6) continue their four-game homestand on Thursday when they welcome the Rapid City Rush (31-33-3). The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier