Depending on how one looks at it, Wichita’s 4-3 victory over Quad City on Friday can raise concern or find reason for optimism for a team that has now won three games in a row.
“We made it closer than it should have been,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. “Shots were low against us again tonight, we scored on a power play, penalty kill was perfect again — that’s the things you want at the end of the night.”
The Thunder took a commanding 3-0 lead late into the second period before Quad City made a game of it.
The Mallards’ first goal came with 3:28 remaining in the second period, when Mickey Lang scored while shorthanded.
“We had a defensiveman come out of the penalty box and we got caught standing around,” McClelland said.
Quad City’s Mike Stinziani scored the first of his two third-period goals midway through the period to cut the Thunder lead to 3-2.
Thunder forward RG Flath responded about a minute later with a goal, the eventual game-winner for Wichita.
“It was a great play by (Matt) Summers,” Flath said. “He drove to the net so he created a little bit of a lane for me. I was going to try and go back door to him but I had a D-man step over and come toward me with his stick so I just put it on net and good things happen when you put it on net.”
Flath He is seven goals shy of 100 as a professional. He also assisted on a second-period goal, giving him 100 assists in his career.
“It’s a big milestone. It’s going to happen if you play long enough,” Flath said. “I’ve been in the league long enough it should have happened a couple of years ago.”
The Thunder took control early behind an Ian Lowe power play goal in the first period. Ryan Flanigan and Les Reaney added goals in the second.
“In hockey the three-goal lead is the hardest, because they get one, then they get two and start getting some momentum,” Flath said. “They are really strong down low in the offensive zones. It creates challenges for us to get the puck out and create offense.”
Quad City had chances to score late, but an interference penalty on Mallard defender Mitch McColm with less than three minutes to play made a comeback difficult.
The Thunder outshot Quad City 37-20 for the game, but was outscored 2-1 in the final period.
“We came in and kind of let up in the third period,” Reaney said. “It’s hockey. You just have to take it as it is and hope you peak at the right time.”
First period— 1, Wichita, Lowe (powerplay) (Trimm, Painchaud), 17:53. Penalties—Martens, Wichita (holding), 14:35; Preece, Quad City (holding), 16:43.
Second period—2, Wichita, Flanigan (Boogaard, Martens), 10:02; 3, Wichita, Reaney (Flanigan, Flath), 14:34; 4, Quad City, Lang (shorthanded) (Duffy), 16:32. Penalties— Boyd, Quad City (tripping), 6:39; Flath, Wichita (interference), 12:21; Murray, Quad City (tripping), 14:58.
Third period— 5, Quad City, Stinziani (Preece, Lang), 9:43; 6, Wichita, Flath (Young), 10:37; 7, Quad City, Stinziani (Boyd), 14:19. Penalties— Levesque, Quad City (holding), 6:26; Inman, Wichita (tripping), 7:40; McColm, Quad City (interference), 17:29.
Power plays— Quad City 0 of 3; Wichita 1 of 5
Shots— Quad City 4-8-8—20; Wichita 9-14-14—37
Goalies— Quad City, Murray 37 shots-33 saves; Wichita, Regan 20 shots-17 saves
T— 2:18. A— 4,198.