The storm came quickly at Missouri Mavericks goaltender Gerry Festa on Friday night, and it never let up.
Festa was prepared.
"We knew just from watching tape that (Wichita) was getting about 40 shots every game," Festa said. "So you know that it's coming and you try to prepare for it, but it can be mentally and physically exhausting."
The Mavericks, behind Festa's 37 saves, handed Wichita a 4-2 loss on Friday night in front of 6,510 fans at Intrust Bank Arena.
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It was the Thunder's first defeat after a 4-0 start. Missouri improved to 6-0 and the two teams square off again tonight in Independence, Mo.
Wichita outshot the Mavericks 39-19.
" (Missouri) played a patient, solid game," Wichita coach Kevin McClelland said. "They'd get the puck, blow their wingers out of the zone, wait for the opportunities and then capitalize."
The Mavericks took a 1-0 lead 9:22 into the first period on a goal from Vern Cooper with each team a man down. Gloves dropped for the game's only fight before the next face-off when Wichita's Erick Lizon pounded Carlyle Lewis.
The Mavericks struck again quickly, taking a 2-0 lead on a goal from Dave Pszenyczny.
Festa stopped all 11 Wichita shots in the first period, including five attempts in the first 10 minutes. Missouri was as efficient as Festa was stingy, with two goals coming on five shots.
"We gave up those two goals early that we wished we could have back," McClelland said.
Wichita trimmed Missouri's lead to 2-1 less than a minute into the second period when Thomas Beauregard beat Festa from the left wing. The Thunder's barrage of shots continued with 21 in the second period.
Wichita also couldn't find the back of the net despite three power-play opportunities in the second.
"When we have that many shots on net and we have that many power plays, you'd expect way more than two goals," Beauregard said. "We need to be a little more focused."
Missouri went up 3-1 early in the third period when Brandon Coccimiglio beat Adam Russo in front of the net on a sharp pass from Sebastien Thinel. Wichita's Daniel Tetrault cut the lead to 3-2 when he smoked a slap shot past Festa from the right wing a minute-and-a-half later.
Missouri added an empty-net goal from Thinel with 47 seconds left.
"I looked in the eyes of my defensemen a couple of times late and you could tell this was definitely a physically taxing game," Festa said. "But we better get used to it, because all season long it's going to be a war whenever we play (Wichita)."
Missouri (6-0) 2 0 2 — 4 Wichita (4-1) 0 1 1 — 2
Scoring—1. Missouri, Cooper 2 (Thinel, Courtney), 9:22. 2. Missouri, Pszenyczny 1 (Mahovsky, Hogg), 11:09. Penalties— Wichita, Greene (charging), 2:15; Missouri, Mahovsky (tripping), 7:22; Missouri, Lewis (fighting), 10:38; Wichita, Lizon (fighting), 10:38; Wichita, Davis (hooking), 10:48; Missouri, Coccimiglio (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:49; Wichita, Hofstetter (holding), 13:42; Missouri, Lewis (elbowing), 16:13.
Scoring—3. Wichita, Beauregard 2 (Summers, Martens), :57. Penalties— Missouri, Hogg (interference), 5:12; Missouri, Coccimiglio (tripping), 9:00; Missouri, Ruwe (holding), 13:20.
Scoring—4. Missouri, Coccimiglio 4 (Thinel, Ruwe), 5:40. 5. Wichita, Tetrault (Greene, Wight), 7:04. 6. Missouri, Thinel 3 (Ruwe), 19:13. Penalties— Wichita, Robinson (roughing), 1:05; Wichita, Sawyer (elbowing), 5:05.
Power play—Missouri 1 for 4, Wichita 0 for 5.
Shots on goal—Missouri 5-5-8—18, Wichita 11-21-7—39.
Goaltenders—Missouri, Festa 37 saves on 39 shots; Wichita, Russo 14 saves on 18 shots.