Theut Stellar in Leading Thunder Past Mavericks, 2-1
NDEPENDENCE, MO – Jake Theut was dominant on Tuesday evening, stopping 39 shots to lead the Wichita Thunder to a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks, the team’s second win in a row. Two second period goals proved to be all the support that Theut needed. The victory gave the Thunder a 2-1-2 mark in the five-game set against the Mavericks.
Both Thuet and Kansas City netminder Andrew Shortridge were solid in the first period, as the two combined to stop 19 shots with Thuet setting aside 10 of those attempts. However, the Mavericks dominated the second frame, outshooting Wichita 19-8. Surprisingly, it would be the Thunder who came out of the period with the lead as goals by two of their defensemen led the way.
The first came at 3:55 when Cam Clarke scored his second goal of the season. Tyler Jeanson passed the puck across the ice to Clarke who was moving along the right boards. He continued into the Kansas City end, then made a move just after passing the right face-off circle. Clarke used a screen in front to block Shortridge before putting a backhander just inside the far post to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.
A little under three minutes later Garrett Schmitz extended the lead to two. Jay Dickman passed the puck to Schmitz who buried a one-timer for his third goal of the year.
The Thunder were being woefully outplayed in many ways, but had the advantage. Theut was making it stand, stopping the first 33 shots he faced but finally, at the 10:17 mark, the Mavericks efforts paid off when Marcus Crawford scored on the power-play to cut the deficit in half. With the face-off in the Wichita zone, Lane Scheidl moved the puck to Justin Woods who fed Crawford. Crawford corralled the puck onto a stick before firing a wrist shot past Theut for his sixth goal of the year.
The Mavericks were looking to pull their goaltender in the final minute to get the equalizer, but Carter Johnson and Brayden Watts did a spectacular job of keeping the puck inside the Kansas City zone, denying any opportunity to get the puck out. That helped to secure the victory, as Wichita skated away with a 2-1 win.
Stefan Fournier collected an assist in his return to the Thunder. Schmitz now has goals in back-to-back games.
The Wichita Thunder (12-16-4) return home to open a three-game series against the Rapid City Rush (14-14-5) starting on Thursday. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier