PARK CITY — Jason's Duda's re-emerging back problem, which forced the Wichita Thunder veteran to go on injured reserve Friday afternoon, was certainly concerning enough.
Add in the Thunder's embarrassing, troubling loss to previously winless Missouri and Friday surely qualifies as one of the worst days in recent memory for the struggling Central Hockey League franchise.
The expansion Missouri Mavericks thumped the listless Thunder 6-1 in the Kansas Coliseum.
The Thunder, which won at Mississippi on Sunday, had hoped to sustain some momentum but instead took a clear step backward and dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-3 at home, in front of 3,345 fans. Missouri is 1-5.
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Missouri entered the game last in the 15-team CHL in defense, giving up an even five goals a game. But the Mavericks, who have five players who were with now-defunct Oklahoma City last season, allowed the Thunder a 1-0 lead on rookie Mike Kneeland's goal.
And, surprisingly, nothing else.
The struggles of the offense were illustrated most clearly on the power play: The Thunder was zero for nine, including a key 1-minute, 20-second stretch with a five-on-three advantage in the second period.
"It was something we worked on this week; maybe I shouldn't have worked on it," coach Brent Bildoeau said. "Guys weren't on the same page. Guys couldn't make a pass. Guys were falling down. There was no urgency. Guys are taking it for granted that they're on the power play."
After Kneeland's score, Missouri scored twice later in the period to take the lead for good. Missouri added an insurance goal in the second and tacked on three more in the third period.
Entering Friday, Missouri hadn't scored more than two goals in a game.
Bilodeau said there was "no question" his team took Missouri lightly.
"There was a lack of commitment," he said. "A lack of pride."
Thunder goaltender Tim Boron, who picked up his first win on Sunday, stopped 14 of Missouri's 20 shots. He clearly wasn't in top form.
"He didn't play very well at all," Bilodeau said. "But it wasn't all his fault. He was one of probably 15 guys who didn't play well tonight."
Notes _ Duda, who struggled with a bad back much of last season, was placed on 14-day IR. He was at the game, walking very gingerly. Bilodeau said he wouldn't know the severity of Duda's injury until he is examined next week.... The Thunder's penalty kill was three for three and has killed 23 straight penalties.... Kneeland has scored in two straight games.... Glenn Detulleo's scoring streak ended at four games.... Defenseman Jordan Little and rookie forward Chris Trafford were activated from injured reserve and made their debuts.
Missouri2 1 3 — 6 Wichita1 0 0 — 1
Scoring—1. Wichita, Kneeland 2 (Belanger, Adamek) 4:16; 2. Missouri, Davis 2 (Christian, Perkins) 9:55; 3. Missouri, Vandermeer 2 (Pallardy, Watson) 11:49. Penalties— Missouri, Hammond (tripping) 5:05; Missouri, Christian (slashing) 12:12; Missouri, Perkins (holding) 15:52; Missouri, Pallardy (hooking) 16:49.
Scoring—4. Missouri, Christian 2 (Sirota, Arvai) 8:17. Penalties— Wichita, Trafford (tripping) :36; Missouri, Sirota (interference) 5:33; Wichita, Surma (high sticking) 8:27; Missouri, Perkins (double minor high sticking) 9:09; Missouri, Hinz (hooking) 10:10; Missouri, Hinz (boarding) 15:12.
Scoring—5. Missouri, Hammond 1 (Lewis) 16:30; 6. Missouri, Hinz 1 (Christian) 15:11; 7. Missouri, Watson 1 (unassisted) 16:53. Penalties— Wichita, McAllister (roughing) 7:12.
Power play—Missouri 0-3, Wichita 0-9.
Shots—Missouri 8-4-8—20, Wichita 14-7-5—26.
Goaltenders—Missouri, Groenestege 25 saves on 26 shots; Wichita, Boron 14 saves on 20 shots.