There was a time, not so long ago, when Wichita Thunder fans would have felt a sense of nostalgia as the number of games remaining at the Kansas Coliseum began to dwindle.
The Brown Barn, the franchise's home for 18 years, has been the site of countless fond memories.
But at this point, even the diehards who recall the days when the Thunder enjoyed one of the best home-ice advantages in the Central Hockey League probably can't wait to open Intrust Bank Arena.
It's become that dismal during games at the Coliseum.
The Thunder lost again at home on Wednesday, this time a 4-1 setback to Rapid City.
Despite a season-high 36 shots, Wichita dropped its third straight at home, falling to 1-5 at the Coliseum. The Thunder (2-7) hasn't scored in the third period at home all year.
The overall losing streak reached four games.
Coach Brent Bilodeau was in the dressing room longer than usual after the game. His message to the team?
"I told them my door was open," Bilodeau said. "If they don't want to dedicate to this team their heart and soul then my door is open, and I will trade them or they can go home.
"I told the guys I don't like the mentality of this team. There's no killer instinct, no sense of urgency. I don't know if guys are scared for their jobs, or not scared enough."
Rapid City led 2-0 just eight minutes into the game after Colt King tipped in a shot and Luke Ericson scored on the power play. Capitalizing on a three-on-two break, the Thunder cut the lead in half later in the period when Mike Batovanja scored off a rebound of a Brad Thompson shot.
After a scoreless second, Rapid City went up 3-1 when a wide-open Jamie VanVeeken snuck in on the backdoor side, took a nice pass and scored on the power play.
That the Thunder failed on the penalty kill — Rapid City was two of four on the power play — was surprising given that the unit had been successful 28 straight times entering the game.
By contrast, the Thunder's struggles on the power play were no shock. Wichita entered on a zero-for-25 slide, and the slump continued with six more fruitless efforts.
"It's embarrassing, really," Batovanja said. "I mean, everyone wants to score. But you've got to be willing to pay the price to get to the areas so you can get the rebounds and the dirty goals."
Bilodeau, whose team plays its next three games on the road, is actively seeking players with that kind of an attitude.
"There's no one on this team taking the bull by the horns and saying, 'Let's go,' " he said. "But that's fine. I'll find guys who want to play hard."
Bilodeau hopes that Brett Pilkington is such a player. Pilkington, a 6-foot, 200-pound forward recently released by Tulsa, was in the tunnel after the game, dressed in a baseball hat, jeans and flip flops.
He'll be in a Thunder uniform when the team plays at Missouri on Friday, Bilodeau said.
Rapid City 2 0 2 — 4 Wichita 1 0 0 — 1
Scoring—1. Rapid City, King 6 (Branham) 5:17; 2. Rapid City, Erickson 1 (Reaney) 7:27 pp; 3. Wichita, Batovanja 2 (Thompson, McAllister) 16:46; Rapid City, VanderVeeken (interference)18:37. Penalties— Wichita, (hooking) 5:45.
Scoring—none. Penalties— Rapid City, Fritshaw (holding) 1:17; Wichita, Kaleniecki (high sticking) 4:46; Rapid City, Wray (slashing) 7:01; Rapid City, Ustmul (hooking) 11:31; Wichita, Little (holding) 18:24.
Scoring—4. Rapid City, Vanderveeken 2 (Cook, Reaney) 4:34 pp; 5. Rapid City, Jarvis 2 (Ustrnul) 19:39. Penalties— Rapid City, Grimson (high sticking) 18:24; Wichita, Belanger (hooking) 3:39; Rapid City, Grimson (interference) 12:16.
Shots on goal—Rapid City 13-8-7—28, Wichita 12-12-12—36.
Power play—Rapid City 2 of 4, Wichita 2 of 6.
Goaltenders—Rapid City, Beaudry 35 saves on 36 shots; Wichita, Campbell 24 saves on 28 shots.