According to the sometimes-reliable Central Hockey League rumor mill, the Wichita Thunder tried to pull off a trade for goaltender Doug Groenestege earlier this season.
Given the way he has dominated the Thunder during his career, it would have been one of those "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" type of moves.
Instead, Groenestege ended up in Arizona, and he was in net for the Sundogs on Saturday night.
The Thunder has by far the worst offense in the league, and Groenestege entered last night's game 10-0 against Wichita.
So you didn't need Barry Melrose to predict how this one was going to go.
The Thunder made Groenestege work overtime, but he prevailed yet again in Arizona's 2-1 shootout victory at Intrust Bank Arena.
Wichita's effort was better than in Friday's loss, and the game at least provided a crowd of 5,362 some excitement, but the result was painfully familiar for fans: the Thunder (7-34-4) suffered its 18th consecutive loss at home, extending a CHL record.
Groenestege, a finalist for the league's outstanding goaltender of the year last season, served notice early that he was on top of his game by making what he described as one of the best saves of his career.
About three minutes into the game, the Thunder dumped the puck in and, according to Groenestege, it took a funny bounce off the glass, leaving him out of position and the net wide open for Mark Adamek.
Adamek's shot from the slot appeared to be a sure goal, but Groenestege dove to his left and, using every inch of his 6-foot-2 frame, stopped the puck with his stick and controlled the rebound.
"I can't believe how lucky I got," he said. "You see things like that happen in the NHL, and you wonder when you're ever gonna get lucky like that. It shows that you should never give up on a puck."
The Thunder, which fired a season-high 41 shots, certainly had opportunities, including several when a five-minute checking from behind major on Linus Fagemo extended into overtime.
Despite 1 minute, 57 seconds of a four-on-three advantage to start the OT, the Thunder couldn't solve Groenestege.
"It's the story of our season: They get a power-play goal on a shot that deflects off two players' skates and goes in, and we can't bang one in to save our lives," Thunder interim coach Jason Duda said.
Kyle Hood scored on Arizona's first attempt in the five-round shootout, and Groenestege stopped all five Thunder shooters.
After making the final stop in the shootout on a Brad Thompson shot, Groenestege skated to the blueline, where he was mobbed by teammates.
Later, standing just outside his team's dressing room, Groenestege said that he wasn't aware of his successful history against the Thunder. He seemed more concerned with his 3.60 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.
"I try not to look at numbers — especially now when they're not very good — and just focus on the game," he said. "Every game I've ever played against Wichita, I've had to battle. They play hard till the end."
Groenestege may not know his numbers against the Thunder, but Duda certainly did. Told that Groenestege was now 11-0 against his team, Duda replied somewhat tersely, "I'm well aware."
Notes — Brad Thompson redirected a shot from Adamek for the Thunder's only goal, tying the score in the third period.... Newcomer Neil Clark had an assist, giving him five points in three games with the Thunder.... The Thunder left immediately after the game for today's afternoon match-up at Mississippi.... Paul Kelly had his scoring streak stopped at five.
Arizona 1 0 0 0 1 — 2 Wichita 0 0 1 0 0 — 1
Scoring—1. Arizona, Jarman 5 (Hood, Sides) 7:31 pp. Penalties— Arizona, Shaw (hooking) 1:09; Wichita, McAllister (cross checking) 6:45; Wichita, Klempa (tripping) 11:06; Arizona, Hood (interference) 16:02.
Scoring—none. Penalties— Arizona, Biondo (high sticking) 13:19; Wichita, Hanson (tripping) 18:03; Arizona, Smyth (roughing) 19:59.
Scoring—2. Wichita, Thompson 3 (Adamek, Clark) 2:44 pp. Penalties— Arizona, Winnick (hooking) 1:42; Wichita, Beauchamp (interference) 7:20; Wichita, McAllister (cross checking) 9:15; Arizona, Fagemo (cross checking, game misconduct) 16:17; Wichita, Clark (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct) 16:17.
Scoring—none. Penalties— none.
Wichita—Ottman miss, Kelly miss, Strome miss, Cooper miss, Thompson miss. Arizona—Hood make, Reeder miss, Belanger miss, Delforte miss.
Power play—Arizona 1 for 5, Wichita 1 for 5. Shots on goal— Arizona 9-8-11-2-1—31, Wichita 13-13-11-4-0—41. Goaltenders— Arizona, Groenestege 40 saves on 41 shots. Wichita, Keserich. 29 saves on 31 shots. Att.— 5,362.