Wichita Thunder

Thunder attack doesn't aid new keeper

PARK CITY — Ian Keserich is forewarned: There will likely be more nights like this.

The Wichita Thunder doesn't score much, and the team gives up way too many shots — weaknesses that fans and players who have been in town all season have likely accepted.

Keserich, acquired in a five-player trade on Monday, found out about both obstacles firsthand in his debut on Thursday night at the Kansas Coliseum.

Keserich was impressive, stopping 35 shots, but the Thunder offense was yet again nonexistent in a 3-0 loss to the expansion Allen Americans.

The Thunder has lost 24 of its last 25 games, and the franchise-record losing streak stretched to 17, four shy of the Central Hockey League mark of 21 set by Memphis in 1999-2000.

Despite 33 shots, well above the team's average, the Thunder (3-24-3) was shut out for the fifth time this season — another franchise record.

Keserich, who was 3-1-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average for Mississippi, certainly did all he could. Allen's first and third goals were described as "rockets" by Thunder interim coach Jason Duda, and the second came on a power play.

"I thought I should have stopped every one of them," Keserich said. "I wish I had all three back. Every shot is save-able."

Keserich is with his fourth CHL team and, despite the Thunder's record, he said he is "excited" to be in Wichita.

On a last-place team?

"There are positives too," said Keserich, whose CHL record is 18-11-4. "There's room for improvement, and I'll be able to help build something from the ground up.

"I'm happy to be here and excited to help the team get a couple wins."

Allen (20-7-2) scored once in the first period and again early in the second, letting its defense — second in the CHL at 2.75 goals per game — and talented goaltender Charlie Effinger control the game from there.

Effinger, the league's goalie of the month for October and a call-up to the higher-level Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, improved to 6-2-1. His goals-against average dropped to 2.03, and his saves percentage rose to .932.

As is typical after games, Duda lamented his team's inability to finish.

"Every shot that could have gone in for us didn't," he said.

Notes — Duda said that Kevin Cooper and Steve Makway, the other players acquired in the trade, played "very well."... The poor outing represented 2009 well for the Thunder, given that the team went 11-50-4 during the year.... To make room for Keserich, the Thunder waived goalie Jon Horrell, who was 0-5-2 with a 3.58 goals-against average.... The Thunder's power play is one for its last 48.... Defenseman Ryan Fairbarn, who had an assist on Allen's second goal, played for the Thunder during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.... The Thunder played a penalty-free first period.

Allen 1 1 1 — 3 Wichita 0 0 0 — 0

First period

Scoring—1. Allen, O'Nabigon 6 (Effinger) 14:17; Penalties— Allen—Straub (hooking) 3:10.

Second period

Scoring—2. Allen, Gaudet 3 (Lukin, Fairbarn) 16:27 pp; Penalties— Allen, Huculak (boarding) 2:15; Wichita, Jorgensen (hooking) 15:54.

Third period

Scoring—3. Allen, Woodisse 4 (Huculak) 19:33 pp; Penalties— Wichita, Cooper (holding) 8:45; Wichita, Woll (high sticking) 9:16; Allen, Graham (fighting) 13:59; Wichita, Bruce (instigation, fighting, misconduct) 13:59; 13:59; Allen, Benn (slashing) 16:29; Wichita, Belanger (holding the stick) 16:29; Wichita, Kaleniecki (tripping) 18:25; Allen 18:27; Wichita, Henderson (instigation, fighting, misconduct) 18:27.

Shots on goal—Allen 14-15-9—38, Wichita 9-11-13—33.

Power play—Allen 2 for 7; Wichita 0 for 2.

Goaltenders—Allen, Effinger 33 saves on 33 shots. Wichita, Keserich 35 saves on 38 shots.

Att—2,760.

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