Wichita Thunder

Kollen Long's CHL report (Feb. 16)


Special requests are rolling in from the players who plan to participate in the Wichita Thunder's first alumni game on Saturday.

"Guys are asking for oxygen tanks on the bench, 10-second shifts, stuff like that," general manager Joel Lomurno said.

A few more tidbits about the game between former Thunder and Tulsa players:

* The game, which will be divided into 20-minute halves, starts at 5:30 p.m. at Intrust Bank Arena. Gates open at 5. The Thunder will play Tulsa in a Central Hockey League game at 7:05. Fans can use their tickets to the CHL game for admission to the alumni game.

* Jason Duda is a late addition to the Thunder's 16-man roster. He said he will probably only play the first half so he can prepare for his duties as assistant coach. "I'll be one of the guys needing oxygen," Duda said. "But it should be a fun evening."

* Bobby Desjardins, generally regarded as the best goalie in team history, and Bryan Wells, who had 30 goals and 407 penalty minutes for Wichita in 1995-96, are the Thunder A-listers.

* Tulsa has 14 players on its roster, including Sly Naud and Taylor Hall. Doug Lawrence, one of those players Thunder fans loved to hate, may also play.

* Lomurno expects the game to be competitive, to a point. "I expect more fun than seriousness," he said. "There won't be any hitting or fights _ maybe some fake fights. Who knows? Both teams will be trying to win the game. I guarantee you there won't be any Harlem Globetrotter stuff with trick plays or anything like that."


* Saturday will also be a benefit for Jonathon Blank. The 23-year-old Blank, a Marine sergeant from rural Augusta, was injured while on foot patrol in southwest Afghanistan.

* The Thunder has taken a team-record seven penalty shots this season. The previous mark was five in 2005-06. Jesse Bennefield has a team-high four penalty shots. He's made two.

* A.J. Gale had a 10-game point streak snapped in Sunday's loss at Mississippi. Matt Robinson's seven game streak was snapped that day too.


The Thunder scored again with its new pre-game video. Produced by Squid Ink, the video is an entertaining mixture of goals, hits, fights and fan participation _ all set to Ozzy Osbourne's "Let Me Hear You Scream." Player posters incorporating the "I vow" theme will soon be made available to fans.


Shorthanded or not, the Thunder should have handled Rio Grande Valley on Friday. The loss of those two points may hurt later on.


The Thunder's Pink at the Rink night raised approximately $4,000 for Victory in the Valley. Goaltender Marty Magers, working with Superior Signs, designed a hockey stick that was auctioned off. The stick, which was signed by the team, brought in $350.


Just when we thought the Fort Wayne-Thunder controversy was old news.... Over the weekend, CHL commissioner Duane Lewis said the league was looking into on-air comments made by Komets broadcaster Bob Chase during the melee between the two teams. Chase is a Komets legend and was named the IHL broadcaster of the year for 2009-2010, but he let his emotions get the better of him in this instance, calling the Thunder's Jason Goulet an "idiot" and referring to coach Kevin McClelland as a "busher." The CHL reveals when players and coaches are disciplined, but the fate of broadcasters is top secret. The league said Tuesday that it "discussed the matter with the Komets and have handled the situation with them...."



Heading into Tuesday's game at Bossier, the Thunder was averaging 3.80 goals per game, second in the CHL.


"If these guys can get a couple (goals), the floodgates can kind of open. I just saw it firsthand _ the resiliency this team has."

—Newly acquired goalie Kevin Beech, after the Thunder rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 Saturday in his first start