The best way for a Thunder hockey player to start a scoring spree is to wait his turn.
First-year forward Neil Trimm had one early in the season, when he scored a point in eight straight games and multiple points in the final five games of that stretch. He had three combined points in the last 11 games, but as part of an offense predecated on depth and balance, opportunities were certain to find Trimm again.
They came in a big way Friday in Wichita’s 6-2 win over Tulsa at Intrust Bank Arena. Trimm produced a natural hat trick in the second period and a third-period assist gave him four points, two short of his total over the last month.
Trimm had one goal in Wichita’s previous six games, but the Thunder won five of them, a sign of the team’s depth and a fact that made Trimm not so concerned about his lack of production.
"You’ll start gripping the stick a little tighter if you’re losing," Trimm said. "But as you’re winning you just want to make sure you’re not getting scored on, doing the little things right.."
The circumstances behind Trimm’s first goal seemed to indicate that he had a chance for a second or third. With Wichita holding a 2-1 lead early in the second, Trimm snatched what was either a loose puck or an errant pass from over his head, dropped it back on the ice and put it past Ian Keserich at point-blank range. Trimm’s second goal came on a rush completed by a precise pass from Matt Summers. He finished the hat trick with a straight-on one-timer from a significant distance.
The Thunder’s balance was displayed on Trimm’s goals. They included assists from four forwards, as Trimm shared the ice with players other than his linemates due to equipment issues and quick line changes.
Those circumstances didn’t hamper Trimm and the ice time with some of Wichita’s best playmakers — Matt Summers assisted on Trimm’s second goal — brought out the best in Trimm.
"We’ve got a lot of guys that can score here so it takes pressure off everyone," Trimm said.
The best indicator that Wichita was in for a high-scoring night came when R.G. Flath scored 39 seconds in. The Thunder’s offense has been inconsistent at times, as it followed the five-game winning streak by being shut out at Denver.
Though Tulsa tied it about 90 seconds later, the Thunder wasn’t impeded. Summers scored less than six minutes in and the Thunder had the lead for good.
Scoring—1. Wichita, Flath (Summers, Hanson), :39; 2. Tulsa, Cramer (Fisher, Ofukany), 2:08; 3. Wichita, Summers (Flath, Lutz), 5:51. Penalties—Wichita, Hanson (unsporstmanlike conduct), 9:33); Wichita, Flath (high sticking), 10:54; Tulsa, Buvinow (interference), 18:12.
Scoring—4. Wichita, Trimm (Lowe, Griffith), 1:10; 5. Wichita, Trimm (Summers, Young), 6:44; 6. Wichita, Trimm (Flanigan, Boogaard), 13:25. Penalties—Tulsa, Gordon (boarding), 2:37; Wichita, Hanson (too many men, bench minor), 9:09; Tulsa, Buvinow (slashing), 17:16.
Scoring—7. Griffith (Trimm, Regan), 7:39; 8. Tulsa, Register PP (Cramer, Menei), 18:20. Penalties—Wichita, Young (slashing), 2:11; Tulsa, Fisher (high sticking), 3:06; Tulsa, Beausoleil (hooking), 9:19; Wichita, Griffith (no category match penalty), 17:01; Tulsa, Menei (cross checking), 17:01; Wichita, Flath (cross checking, fighting major), 19:32; Tulsa, Steffes (fighting major), 19:32.
Power play—Tulsa 1 for 5, Wichita 0 for 5
Shots—Tulsa 8-8-6—22, Wichita 15-12-8—35
Saves—Tulsa, Keserich 18 saves on 23 shots, Garman 11-12; Wichita, Regan 20-22