Thunder Double Up Mavericks in Kansas City, 8-4
The Wichita Thunder may be winless at home this season, but they have proven to be true road warriors, moving to 4-0-0 after destroying the Kansas City Mavericks Tuesday night 8-4. The Thunder were led by Vincent Desharnais and Matteo Gennaro, who each recorded three points. The win moved Wichita (4-1-1) into second-place in the Mountain Division.
Wichita jumped out on top thanks to a pair of first period goals. At 9:25, Desharnais skated down the boards before blasting a shot that Gennaro tipped in for his fifth goal of the year. That is tied for ECHL lead.
A little less than seven minutes later, the lead because two. Stefan Fournier had control of the puck behind the Mavericks goal. He moved to his left using the wraparound shot to tuck the puck under Kansas City netminder Andrew Shortridge for his first goal of the year.
Wichita had dominated the first period, not only leading on the scoreboard, but had outshot the Mavericks, 16-6. They kept the foot on the gas coming out of the first break and that resulted in two more goals.
At 3:44, Desharnais intercepted an errant dump-in attempt by Kansas City, then turned and fired the puck up the boards to Anthony Beauregard, who was waiting at the Mavericks blueline. He gained control before moving into the zone, then fired a shot that Shortridge got a piece of, but it went over his glove and in for Beauregard’s first goal of the year.
Less than five minutes later, the lead became four. Jeremy McKenna dug the puck out of the corner, passing it to Desharnais at the point. He fired a shot that Jacob Graves tipped in for his first goal of the year. That would be it for Shortridge as he was replaced by Sean Bonar.
The Mavericks were getting blown out, but they got on the board, responding less than a minute after the Graves tally. Giorgio Estephan fired a shot that Thunder netminder Mitch Gillam saved, but the puck dropped right in front of the net. Justin Woods knocked the loose puck in for his first goal of the season.
Eight minutes later, Wichita extended their lead back to four. The Thunder entered the Kansas City zone on 3-on-2 break. Gennaro fired a shot that Bonar saved, but McKenna knocked in the rebound for his fourth goal of the year to make it 5-1.
Less than a minute later, the Mavericks responded again. With Kansas City on the power-play, Brodie Reid swung the puck along the blueline to Lane Scheidl, who fired a shot that Gillam saved, but the puck went to the side of the net where Phil Marinaccio knocked it in for his second goal of the year. That made it 5-2 heading into the second intermission.
The Wichita Thunder were in complete control and kept pouring it on, extending their lead to six within the first 12 minutes of the third. The first came at 8:57. Beauregard passed the puck to Jay Dickman in the slot, who got just a piece of the puck, but Bonar anticipated a big shot. That allowed the puck to crawl past the goal line for his first goal.
Just 27 seconds later, the lead became five. The puck came back to Mathieu Gagnon at the point who fired a wrist shot that beat Bonar over the shoulder for his first goal of the year.
At 11:19, Peter Crinella scored his second goal of the season. Gordie Green gained control of the puck behind the net, passing it out to Crinella. Crinella had to move to his right, then spun around and fired a wrist shot that beat the Mavericks netminder to the far side to make it 8-2.
Kansas City refused to give up though, scoring two goals in a span of 1:34. At 14:46, Estephan scored his fourth goal of the year. At 16:20, Bryan Lemos put in his second goal of the season. That made it 8-4, but the Mavericks would get no closer.
Gilliam (4-1-0) stopped 26 shots. Desharnais had three assists and Gennaro had a goal and two assists. Dickman, McKenna, Crinella, and Beauregard each had a goal and an assist. Five Wichita players scored their first goal of the season.
The Thunder return home on Friday looking for their first home victory of the season. They take on the Mavericks for three-games over the weekend. Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier