Was there any doubt that Kevin Truelson and Glenn Detulleo would be difference makers against the Wichita Thunder on Friday night?
Given the disastrous nature of the season, it was all but certain that the players, traded away by the Thunder recently, would return and enjoy key roles against their former team.
It's called adding insult to injury.
And so it went, with Truelson scoring a goal and Detulleo getting the assist on the game-winner as Mississippi edged the Thunder 2-1 in front of 7,026 at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Thunder (4-31-3) dropped to 0-2 at the Arena and set yet another record for futility: It was the team's 14th straight loss at home, breaking Nashville's Central Hockey League record established in 1996-97. The Thunder already owns the CHL record for consecutive losses at 22.
Wichita's offense continues to be nearly nonexistent.
The Thunder, which lost its opener in the new building 2-1, saw its league-worst scoring average drop to 1.79 goals a game.
"I've never seen anything last this long in terms of a team not getting any bounces," interim coach Jason Duda said.
By contrast, Duda pointed to Mississippi's game-winner, an off-target shot by Nathan Schwartzbauer that deflected off the Thunder's Jason Reese before bouncing off goalie Ian Keserich and into the net in the second period.
"Their shot is 10 feet wide and somehow it goes in," Duda said.
Of course, Detulleo saw the goal in a more positive light. "Good things happen when you shoot the puck," he said.
Thunder goaltender Ian Keserich suffered another tough loss, falling to 0-8 in Wichita. As has become typical, he made several spectacular saves in a loss.
In the second period, for example, he collided with a teammate, dropped his stick and fell to the ice — but he somehow kept the score 2-1 by stopping a shot while laying outstretched on his right side.
Later in the period, Keserich, who prides himself on using his stick effectively, used it to pop the puck over the net on another good Mississippi chance.
"He's a lot better than his record shows, and I hope he realizes that," Duda said.
The teams traded power-play goals in the first period.
Entering the game, the Thunder had killed 16 of of 17 penalties and 38 of 40 (.950 percentage), but Truelson scored just nine seconds into Mississippi's first power play — and first shot — for a 1-0 lead.
The Thunder evened it on a power-play goal from Ryan Campbell, who scored from the slot at the 7:36 mark.
While the Thunder continues to struggle, Detulleo and Truelson are enjoying Mississippi's five-game winning streak and 22-15-4 record. Still, Detulleo feels for his former teammates.
"It sucks," he said of the Thunder's constant losing. "I was happy when they won in Tulsa the other night. I wouldn't wish what they're going through on anybody."
Notes — Campbell's right arm was in a sling after the game. Duda said it appears Campbell suffered a separated shoulder.... Defenseman Chris McAllister didn't play and is expected to miss tonight's game too. McAllister, the team's leader in penalty minutes with 127, has what the team described as an upper body injury.... Forward Taylor Guay made his Thunder debut.... Thunderdog celebrates his 17th birthday tonight.
Mississippi 1 1 0 — 2 Wichita 1 0 0 — 1
Scoring—1. Mississippi, Truelson 6 (Held, Landmesser) 4:15; 2. Wichita, Campbell 16 (Makway, Adamek) 7:43 pp. Penalties— Wichita, Kelly (slashing) 4:06; Mississippi, (fighting) 4:15; Wichita, Bria (fighting) 4:15; Mississippi, Marshall (holding) 7:07; Wichita, Woll (interference) 11:26.
Scoring—3. Mississippi, Schwartzbauer 4 (Detulleo, Chaumont) 3:45. Penalties— Mississippi, Simoes (fighting) :02; Wichita, Beauchamp (fighting) :02; Mississippi, Schwartzbauer (interference) 4:28; Wichita, Makway (interference) 7:53; Mississippi, Landmesser (tripping) 8:41; Mississippi, Smyth (unsportsmanlike conduct) 8:41; Mississippi, Stoddard (elbowing) 12:09; Wichita, Kelly (holding the stick, unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:26.
Scoring—none. Penalties— Wichita, Held (hooking) 3:19; Mississippi, Simoes (fighting) 11:28; Wichita, Makway (fighting) 11:28.
Shots on goal—Mississippi, 11-13-4—28. Wichita, 7-8-9—24.
Power play—Mississippi, 1-5. Wichita 1-7.
Goaltenders—Mississippi, Sibbald 23 saves on 24 shots. Wichita, Keserich, 26 saves on 28 shots.