PARK CITY — Freddie Moojen’s second goal of the game came early in the second quarter on Saturday against Chicago, and it couldn’t have been scripted any better.
Midfielder Victor Quiroz found Moojen from near midfield, and Moojen headed it in to give the Wings a two-goal advantage.
Just minutes later, Moojen scored again off a restart thanks to a beautiful pass from Tiguinho and the rout was on.
Wichita (5-6) defeated Chicago in the teams’ first matchup 18-10 behind a four-goal performance by Moojen.
“There were a couple of goals that you look at and say, ‘Wow, they designed that,’ and we didn’t design it,” Wichita coach LeBaron Hollimon said. “That’s what (Moojen) is capable of every night. Nobody works harder than him on the field. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see him get rewarded because he works so stinking hard.”
Led by three consecutive Moojen goals in the first half, Wichita built a 10-4 lead by halftime. Just minutes into the second half, Tiguinho scored on a power play to increase the Wings’ lead to eight.
Chicago (4-9) cut its deficit to 12-8 midway through the third quarter, only to have Wichita answer with two more goals, including Moojen’s fourth in the final minutes of the third quarter.
The 18 points is the best output of the season for the Wings who have now won three in a row.
“It’s important that we finished our chances tonight and our defense worked hard and we came out with the win,” Moojen said. “It’s a team effort and we are happy that we have a few wins in a row and we will keep on going.”
Even though the Wings’ offense is suddenly clicking, the team understands it is still built around the defense. Despite the goal advantage, Chicago outshot Wichita for the game 28-23.
Wichita goalkeeper Sanaldo Carvalho made 23 saves to complement the rest of the defense.
“Every shot they took, it’s not easy, but they made it possible to make the save,” Carvalho said. “The defenders, the midfielders, put themselves in position so that way I could see the shots come through to be able to make the save.”
It has taken time for Hollimon to convince his team to adopt his defense-first philosophy. But now that the team has proof that the system works, he believes the team’s winning ways should continue.
“Once we got everybody committed to defending and defending with honor, they are starting to see the benefits of it,” Hollimon said. “It feels really good to be able to put a string of wins together. Losing is a habit, but so it winning. Now we are in the habit of winning, which is a good place to be.”
Scoring—Wichita, Ferrer (Moojen), 6:00; Chicago, Munoz (unassisted), 11:15; Wichita, Moojen (Tiguinho), 14:17.
Scoring—Wichita, Moojen (Quiroz), 2:25; Wichita, Moojen (restart) (Tiguinho), 6:08; Wichita, Ferrer (unassisted), 7:41; Chicago, Munoz (restart) (Farias), 14:26.
Scoring—Wichita, Tiguinho (powerplay) (Quiroz), 3:09; Chicago, Stewart (unassisted), 5:35; Chicago, Lukin (unassisted), 7:58; Wichita, Hoxie (unassisted), 8:29; Wichita, Moojen (Tiguinho), 11:02. Penalty—Chicago, Lukin (tripping), 2:53.
Scoring—Wichita, Hoxie (Ferrer), 3:41; Chicago, Radoncic (unassisted), 12:59. Penalties—Chicago, Nichols (tripping), 9:07; Chicago, Farias (misconduct), 9:07; Chicago, Richey (Delay of game), 10:47.
Shots—Chicago 6-7-7-8—28; Wichita 7-5-5-6—23
Goalies—Chicago, Richey 14 saves on 23 shots; Wichita, Carvalho 23 saves on 28 shots.