The Thunder’s hockey season has reached a level of monotony where even potential positives become more repetitive than encouraging.
Wichita took Rapid City to a shootout on the road 10 days ago, no small accomplishment against one of the Central Hockey League’s best teams and one the Thunder hasn’t beaten this season.
Three nights later, the Thunder again lost in a shootout against Rapid City, this time at home, and nary a breakthrough was achieved.
Trailing Arizona by six points for the final CHL playoff spot, Wichita won’t scoff at picking up a point for extending those games beyond regulation. But it’s another example of the Thunder failing to grasp opportunities, especially after Wichita won six shootouts in a row before the games against Rapid City.
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“Those are the type of games you’re going to get this time of year,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said.
The Thunder is seemingly waiting until the final moment to become a factor in the postseason race, if it becomes one at all. While Arizona has struggled, the Thunder has endured its own problems, losing five in a row and seven of eight. Wichita last won in regulation on Feb. 17.
Inconsistency has been a theme of the Thunder’s season since Wichita started 1-9-1. Since then, the Thunder is 22-18-5 – a winning percentage that would have it in sixth place if accumulated over the entire season.
Leading scorer Jon Booras recently returned from a two-game injury absence but Matt Robinson, who leads the team with 23 goals, is still questionable with a lower-body injury.
“We’ve got to move forward and win the next game,” Thunder forward Ian Lowe said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Cops vs. Firefighters – The third annual hockey game between firefighters and police officers is at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, before the Thunder plays the second of two weekend games against Tulsa. Intrust Bank Arena doors open at 5.