The Wichita Thunder's 5-1 loss to Tulsa on Saturday night was awful for so many reasons.
* It came in front of 8,558 fans and spoiled what had been a wonderful evening for the organization, thanks to a fun-filled alumni game and an emotional pre-game tribute to Jonathon Blank, a Marine sergeant from Augusta who was injured in Afghanistan. The Thunder is 2-3 in front of crowds of more than 7,000 in Intrust Bank Arena this season.
* Ian Keserich, who was dropped by the Thunder after an 0-3 start, stopped 52 shots and improved to 4-1 against his old team. By the time Matt Robinson scored the Thunder's first goal, there was 10 minutes left and Tulsa was in command 4-0. Meanwhile, Wichita's standout rookie goalie, Marc-Antoine Gelinas, was pulled after giving up goals on all three of the shots he faced in the first period.
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* Despite an unthinkable shot advantage, the Thunder still lost. The Thunder (26-19-4) set a season high with 52 shots, including 26 in the third period, compared to only 12 for Tulsa.
Tulsa (27-22-2) scored the game's first goal at the 6 minute, 30 second mark of the first period.
Later in the period, Thunder defenseman Jason Goulet was called for tripping on a breakaway by Evan Kotsopoulos, leading to a penalty shot. Kotsopoulos converted the opportunity, sneaking a backhander past Gelinas to up Tulsa's lead to 2-0. Tulsa quickly pushed the margin to 3-0 by first intermission and put the Thunder away with a shorthanded goal just 25 seconds into the second. It was the 11th shorthanded goal allowed by Wichita, second most in the Central Hockey League.
By the end of the game, the Thunder's frustration was evident. After the Thunder failed on several good chances to score on the power play late in the game, Lance Galbraith slammed his stick against the glass.
Notes — One highlight for the Thunder came when Robin Richards took on Brandon Sugden in the first period. The fight included mostly holding, but Richards landed the only solid punches to earn the nod.... The Thunder beat Tulsa 9-8 in the franchise's first alumni game, an event that attracted about 3,000 enthusiastic fans prior to the CHL game. Scott Rozendal collected a rebound, turned quickly and scored from the slot for the game-winner. Bobby Desjardins started for the Thunder and showed he still has some quickness; he robbed Tulsa several times, especially early.
Tulsa 3 1 1 — 5 Wichita 0 0 1 — 1
Scoring—1. Tulsa, Wirll 7 (Steffes, Battaglia) 6:30; 2. Tulsa, Kotsopoulos 11 12:51 ps; 3. Tulsa, Battaglia 7 (Steffes, Wirll) 13:10. Penalties— Wichita, Wight (tripping) 7:16; Wichita, Bennefield (interference) 10:03; Tulsa, Sugden (fighting) 13:16; Wichita, Richards (fighting) 13:16; Tulsa, Barker (hooking) 15:24; Tulsa, Linder (boarding) 19:06.
Scoring—4. Tulsa, Standish 6 (Kotsopoulos, Eastman) :25 sh. Penalties— Tulsa, Beausolei (slashing) 4:09; Tulsa, Steffes (tripping) 12:12.
Scoring—5. Wichita, Robinson 29 (Donaghy, Davis) 9:59; 6. Tulsa, Costello 30 (Beausolei, Eastman) 19:23 en; Penalties— Tulsa, Standish (slashing) 1:04; Tulsa, Linder (holding) 15:46;
Shots on goal—Tulsa 3-6-3—12, Wichita 13-14-26—53.
Power play—Tulsa 0-2, Wichita 0-6.
Goaltenders—Tulsa, Keserich 52 saves on 53 shots. Wichita, Gelinas 0 on 3; Beech 7 on 8.