Since retiring in 2002, Sean O'Reilly, or the "Junkyard Dawg" as he was affectionately called by Thunder fans, has been regarded as a first-class player in the organization's history.
It was only fitting O'Reilly's record for most points scored by a Thunder defensemen was surpassed on Friday night by another first-class player, Daniel Tetrault, who scored his record-breaking 170th point on what turned out to be the game-winning assist on Matt Summers' goal in a 4-3 victory over the Texas Brahmas at Intrust Bank Arena.
"I guess it's a big achievement," Tetrault said while signing the historic pick in silver ink after then game. "After my career is done, it will probably sink in more. But right now, the win is a bit more important."
Wichita's second consecutive win was certainly valuable, as it moved the Thunder one point ahead of Allen in the Berry Conference standings.
"That's why Daniel Tetrault is a Wichita Thunder hockey guy," Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. "He is the meaning of Wichita Thunder hockey."
The victory also resonated in the locker room after Wichita lost one its best players, Andrew Martens, on Wednesday after Martens was promoted to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
The loss left McClelland with a roster of five defensemen. That meant more pressure on players like Kevin Seibel and Justin Sawyer to perform.
"We're shorthanded right now and everybody is going to have to stick up," Tetrault said. "We knew we were going to get a lot of ice time. Guys that usually don't get a lot of minutes had to step up."
Wichita allowed a goal four minutes in, then another with 1:11 left in the third period that made the 6,217 in attendance hold their breath for the final minute.
But once again the team banded together when it needed to.
Like in the first period when the Thunder viewed Dan Nicholls' open-ice hit on Thomas Beauregard a dirty one. Immediately Alex Bourret, the team's leading scorer, floored Nicholls with a barrage of punches directed at Nicholls' head.
"Sometimes you have to do stuff like that," Bourret said. "He took a run at Thomas, who is one of our best players, and you don't do that when you're at home. It's not my job to do it, but I'm here right now and I play for the team."
Bourret was assessed 27 penalty minutes including a game misconduct, which sent him to the locker room with 42 minutes remaining in the game. It also gave Texas a 7-minute power play.
Momentum swung when Texas couldn't convert, and Wichita took a 2-1 lead on a goal from Brett Hemingway. Matt Summers scored the first and last goals for Wichita, and Chris Chappell added the third.
"If you are the team that doesn't capitalize on that long of a power play, you kind of get frustrated," Hemingway said. "And the other team gets the boost. I think that's definitely what happened tonight."
Bourret said he regretted his actions because it put the Thunder in a bad situation. But even he received a little vindication later in the night when Nicholls dropped gloves with Wichita's Erick Lizon.
For the second time on the night, Nicholls ended up on the ice under a flurry of punches.
"I don't think he's going to try to do that again," Bourret said, grinning.
Texas1 1 1 — 3 Wichita1 2 1 — 4
Scoring—1. Texas, Hogg 8 (Curran) 4:24; 2. Wichita, Summers 8 (Donaghy, Chappell) 5:34. Penalties— Wichita, Bourret (fighting instigator) 17:45; Wichita, Bourret (fighting major) 17:45; Wichita, Bourret (fighting misconduct); Wichita, Bourret (fighting game misconduct) 17:45.
Scoring—3. B. Hemingway 11 (Seibel, Beauregard) 3:36; 4. Texas, Spady 2 (Hogg) 9:48; 5. Wichita, Chappell 2 (Seibel, Wight) 12:17. Penalties— Texas, T. Fox (interference) 3:01; Texas, Hogg (slashing) 10:01; Wichita, Donaghy (tripping) 17:24.
Scoring—6. Summers 9 (Tetrault) 6:37; 7. Woollard 13 (P. Fox) 18:49. Penalties— Wichita, Lizon (fighting major) 9:57; Texas, Nicholls (fighting major) 9:57; Texas, Spady (interference) 19:35.
Power play—Texas 0-3, Wichita 0-3.
Shots on goal—Texas 10-10-6—26, Wichita 9-8-5—22.
Goaltenders—Texas, Guggenberger 18 saves on 22 shots. Wichita, Russo 23 saves on 26 shots.