Wichita Thunder

Kollen Long's CHL report (Feb. 9)


While Thunder goaltender Marty Magers prides himself on being a straight shooter, he chose his words very carefully Monday.

"My mom taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," he said.

The topic of conversation was the controversy involving the late-game melee Magers sparked when he left the bench and charged after Fort Wayne Komets goalie Nick Boucher on Saturday in Indiana.

With 2.3 seconds left in the game, Boucher stopped a penalty shot, preserving the Komets 5-4 victory. After the stop, Boucher gestured toward the Wichita bench — a taunt that the Thunder considered classless.

"It's just disrespectful to the game," Thunder defenseman Andrew Martens said. "He had a big save, so bask in the glory of saving the game. You don't have to go out of your way to rub it in."

Said Wichita coach Kevin McClelland, an NHL veteran and a winner of four Stanley Cup championships, "Gestures like that... I've never seen anything like it in hockey myself."

Magers lost his cool, skating toward Boucher before an official grabbed him and stopped his progress. Magers tried to shake free of the official, and, in doing so, knocked the official to the ice. On Monday, Magers apologized to the officials.

While declining to be specific, Magers said he has history with Boucher.

After the game, Boucher criticized Magers.

"Since his time in Port Huron, he's taken to yapping in warm-ups, shooting pucks at me in warm-ups; so for whatever reason he seems to concentrate more on that than stopping pucks," Boucher told the News-Sentinel at fortwayne.com after the game. "If that's the way he's going to go... To me, he's a Southern Pro Hockey League goalie. He's played in nine games this year so he's pretty fortunate to have a job at this level in my opinion."

Magers responded, "I think there is no class coming from him to chirp another professional hockey league. I have a friend in that league. There are good hockey players in that league."

Magers' actions led to fights by teammates Jason Goulet and Robin Richards, who were suspended for two games each. The disciplinary action will leave the Thunder shorthanded for this weekend, when the team plays three games in three nights.

"If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't think twice; I'd go after that kid again in a heartbeat," Magers said. "What I regret is I put my team in a bad spot. I started it, and I got the other guys involved. It's my fault they're suspended.

"But I do feel it brought the team closer. Guys were protecting each other and standing up for each other, and that's what a team is. If we take any good in it, that's the good we're taking."

Martens agreed.

"Marty's definitely a good team guy and we support him. We stick together as a team."


* The Thunder has added goalie Kevin Beech to fill in for Magers. Beech was 8-4-2 with a 3.25 goals-against average and a .891 saves percentage before he was released by Texas on Feb. 3.

* The latest addition to the roster for the Thunder's first alumni game is sure to please: Bryan Wells has signed on for the Feb. 19 game.

* Goulet, one of the toughest guys in the CHL, did an interesting Q & A with hockeyfights.com. He said his biggest win was against Brett Angel a couple years ago. His toughest loss? "Jonathan Tremblay. He's big and left-handed. I ate a few punches in that one, that's for sure."


Somewhat lost in the shuffle of all the rough stuff was Martens' huge game on Saturday. The defenseman scored four goals — all in the second period in just over five minutes. "It was pretty wild," said Martens, who has 12 goals and 35 points. "We had a lot of good plays that accounted for those goals, so it was really just being in the right place at the right time." After the game, Martens received the customary post-game text from his mom, who followed the game on the internet. "She just told me she was proud of me and happy to see that I'm doing well, and that she enjoyed watching me play."



Number of consecutive games that A.J. Gale has scored in


"Emotions run high in hockey, but it was something we didn't need right now. We met and use it as a learning experience."

—McClelland on the Magers situation