Mavericks Blow Out Thunder in Independence
INDEPENDENCE, MO – The Kansas City Mavericks blew open a close contest, scoring four unanswered goals over the final 23 minutes to defeat the Wichita Thunder, 5-1. Ryan Harrison, Pascal Laberge, and Tommy Muck each had two points for the Mavericks and Shane Starrett stopped 36 shots. Chris Van Os-Shaw had the only goal of the game for the Thunder.
This was a scoreless contest through the first period, but Kansas City jumped out in front 3:39 into the second. With the Mavericks on the power-play, Muck fired a shot that Hugo Roy tipped past Evan Buitenhuis for his eighth goal of the season.
The lead held for the next 10 minutes, but Van Os-Shaw tied the score with his first goal since joining Wichita, scoring at the 14-minute mark. Quinn Preston made a perfect pass to the opposite side of the crease where Van Os-Shaw fired a wrist shot past the blocker of Starrett for his fifth goal of the year.
At 17:30, Kansas City took the lead for good. The Mavericks were on the power-play when Jeremy McKenna took a shot that Laberge tipped past Buitenhuis for his 16th goal of the season.
The lead became two when Jake McLaughlin scored with 43 seconds left in the second period. He led a rush into the Wichita zone, opting to take the shot himself. He beat Buitenhuis through the legs with his first tally of the year. That goal came with Kansas City shorthanded, the first of two shorthanded goals for the team in the contest.
Harrison extended the lead to three when he scored his third goal of the season at the 9:21 mark. Laberge fed the puck to Harrison, who lifted a laser that beat the Thunder netminder to make it 4-1.
With 33 seconds left in the contest and Kansas City shorthanded, Joshua Lammon intercepted a pass attempt, putting the puck in the empty net for his seventh goal of the year. That made it 5-1, which would be the final.
Buitenhuis took the loss, stopping 33 shots in the game. It was the ninth straight game where he has recorded at least 31 saves.
The Wichita Thunder (25-17-3) will head home where they will host the Kansas City Mavericks (20-18-5) on Friday. Wichita holds an eight-point lead over Kansas City for second place in the Mountain Division standings. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier