The Thunder made scoring on power plays look easy in its 5-4 win over Fort Worth on Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Thunder scored three goals from five power plays on its way to a fourth consecutive win. .
“That’s (assistant coach) Jason Duda who knows how to do the power plays, and he does a good job,” Wichita coach Kevin McClelland said. “He gives them all the options that they can use out there, sets them up with breakouts, end zone plays, and they work well this year.”
The first half of the first period was back-and-forth. Then the Brahmas grabbed control and took the next eight shots ending in a goal with 2:02 remaining.
The second period began with a power play for Wichita, and the Thunder capitalized. A Wichita restart popped the puck out to Dave Inman, whose shot was finished by Matt Summers to tie the score a 1.
“You give them some options,” Duda said. “As a player you don’t want to be a robot out there, so you don’t want to have to do certain things, and the guys are pretty good with that, moving the puck around, getting opportunities, and moving into soft spots. As long as they’re moving out there, moving the puck, they’ll get opportunities.”
The next power play for Wichita came 1:48 later, and Greger Hanson scored to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. Fort Worth shut down Wichita on its next power play, and scored two goals to end the period leading 3-2.
“We just went over a few things (between periods) and we weren’t happy as coaches and we let them know that,” McClelland said. “We needed to play with a little more urgency.”
McClelland saw his offense spark in the third period. RG Flath scored a quick goal, followed by newcomer Todd Griffith’s goal with 12:28 remaining to give Wichita a 4-3 lead. When Wichita had a two-man advantage late in the period, Summers scored again.
“For a while we were going out and scoring eight goals in one game, six in another game, and then we’d be going two or three games getting one goal or no goals, and we needed to find a little bit of consistency,” McClelland said. “I think it’s starting to come around now.”
Despite a goal from Fort Worth with 3:24 remaining, Wichita held on for its fourth consecutive victory.
“You never want to give a team hope like that,” defender Dave Inman said. “Them getting one goal closer to tying it is not something you want to do. If there’s a weird bounce or something they could end up tying it. We stayed calm and didn’t panic, but it’s not something we want.”
Signing — The Thunder signed Griffith on Saturday afternoon. Griffith, 27, began the season with Toledo in the ECHL. Aaron Boogaard was placed in the seven-day IR, Jarred Mohr was shifted to the 14-day IR and Matt Tassone was moved to the 30-day IR.
First period—1, Fort Worth, Rouleau (Pallis, Nutkevitch), 17:58. Penalties—Rouleau, Fort Worth (holding), 20:00.
Second period—2, Wichita, Summers (Inman, Flath), 1:12 (pp). 3, Wichita, Hanson (Summers), 4:28 (pp). 4, Fort Worth, Boychuk (T. Fox, Schneider), 13:30. 5, Fort Worth, Spivak (P. Fox, Spady), 15:17. Penalties—Spady, Fort Worth (tripping), 3:00; Painchaud, Wichita (roughing double minor), 5:49; Rouleau, Fort Worth (slashing), 5:49; Morley, Fort Worth (goalie interference), 8:52.
Third period— 6, Wichita, Flath (Madden, Hanson), 1:49. 7, Wichita, Griffith (Reaney), 7:32. 8, Wichita, Summers (Young, Martens), 14:01 (pp). 9, Fort Worth, Spady (Klempa, T. Fox), 16:36. Penalties—T. Fox, Fort Worth (tripping), 13:50; Boychuck, Fort Worth (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:50.
Power plays—Fort Worth 0 for 1; Wichita 3 for 5.
Shots—Fort Worth 12-6-4—22; Wichita 10-10-9—29.
Goalies—Fort Worth, Westblom 24 saves on 29 shots; Wichita, Jung 18 saves on 22 shots.
T— 2:22. A—4054.