PARK CITY — It was obvious that the Wichita Wings were clicking in all phases on Friday — finally.
At the beginning of the season, Wichita’s defense and offense had trouble. In recent games the defense was a strength, but the team couldn’t score. But the Wings defeated the Missouri Comets 10-4 for their second win in three games by utilizing both ends of the field at Hartman Arena.
“Now you’re starting to see a team that’s playing together, that’s starting to understand each other, that’s starting to accept the roles we have for them,” Wichita coach LeBaron Hollimon said. “It’s just that process that a team goes through as they mature.”
Wichita’s defense allowed 10 points in each of its last three games, but held Missouri to only 15 shots and two goals for four points. Wichita goalkeeper Sanaldo Carvalho had 13 saves, coming at key times throughout the game.
“I think everyone understands the way we play,” Carvalho said. “In the first three games of the season we just thought about attacking, we never thought to defend, so now we’re building from the back and then we can attack.”
The Wings have struggled to score goals all season, but newcomers Matt Clare and Andre Berenzon, traded from Syracuse, added new dimension to the offense in their first home game. But it wasn’t only Clare and Berenzon creating chances for Wichita, a total of six Wings players took part in the five goals.
“That shows that everybody’s working for each other, they’re working together, and it makes it harder for teams to defend us if they know that our goals are going to be spread out and come from anyone,” Hollimon said.
Wichita took an early 4-0 lead in the first quarter, and maintained a four-point lead at halftime at 6-2.
Finishing opportunities continues to be a weakness for Wichita, although its scoring effort improved. Despite creating chances to score goals, Wichita could not finish one in the third quarter, and Missouri cut its lead to 6-4.
“It was frustrating because we had created enough chances to be up 10-2 by that point,” Hollimon said. “The longer the game goes, the more the anxiety builds.”
After Frederico Moojen missed three shots by inches, Moojen finally scored in the fourth quarter on a header, followed by a second goal from Geison Moura to seal Wichita’s six-point win.
“The team wanted the win so bad, so we were prepared for anything,” Carvalho said. “We were four points up, they cut it to only two points, then we understand ‘hey, from here on, no more goals.’ So everyone dropped back and fought behind the ball.”
Scoring—Wichita, Ferrer (Moseley), 6:41; Wichita, Yearwood (Clare), 8:51. Penalties—Missouri, Harris (boarding), 14:13.
Scoring—Wichita, Geison (Moojen), 8:16; Missouri, Alvarez (unassisted), 10:47. Penalties—Wichita, Tiguinho (tripping), 0:53; Missouri, Rodriguez (boarding), 12:36.
Scoring—Missouri, Assadpour (Falck), 14:52. Penalties—Missouri, Stokic (misconduct), 14:23.
Scoring—Wichita, Moojen (unassisted), 9:21; Wichita, Geison (power play) (unassisted), 12:21. Penalties—Missouri, Cristiano (boarding), 11:57; Missouri, Cristiano (ball into stands), 12:21.
Shots—Missouri, 2-7-3-3—15; Wichita, 5-2-3-8—18
Goalies—Missoui, Waltman 13 on 18 shots; Wichita, Carvalho 13 on 15 shots.