Matt Robinson’s third goal came midway through the final period of the Thunder’s 7-1 win over Denver on Sunday.
It didn’t mean much within the game — the Thunder’s second win over Denver in two nights — but it is a sign that Wichita’s recent scoring woes could be behind them.
“I just think we were due. We had a lot of guys on cold streaks the past few games and couldn’t score, and it seems like when we’re hot, we are really hot,” Thunder forward Neil Trimm said. “We got Matt Robinson and we needed some goals, and he’s a guy that can do that. He’s done it for a few years now. It was big getting him back.”
Robinson, the Thunder’s leading scorer the past two seasons, rejoined the team on Jan. 11 after a short stint with Alaska of the ECHL.
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Whether or not the Thunder’s current four-game winning streak is directly related to Robinson’s return is debatable, but it’s difficult to argue against his five-point performance on Sunday.
“Any time you get a hat trick it’s an awesome feeling, especially to do it in front of your home crowd,” Robinson said. “Just through the week of practice and the games we’ve had, we are starting to click and find each other on the ice.”
Wichita, which beat Denver 7-0 on Saturday, picked up right where it left off by scoring two first-period goals on Sunday.
Ian Lowe’s power-play goal 6:07 into the game got the Thunder on the board, and Robinson followed that three minutes later with his own power-play goal.
Wichita outshot Denver 12-3 in the opening period.
Andrew Martens and Greger Hanson had goals only 26 seconds apart in the second period to increase Wichita’s lead to 4-0 before Robinson knocked in his second goal to make it 5-0 Wichita after two periods.
“We have a ton of skill and a ton of goal scorers, so when we get hot we are going to put a lot of pucks in the net,” Trimm said.
Wichita scored two more in the third period, including Robinson’s third and final goal, to make it 7-0. Denver avoided a second-consecutive shutout with AJ Gale’s goal with 8:33 to play.
“Tonight and last night everything went our way,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. “Things are going well. When you get on a roll, good things happen. We put a lot of pucks to the net and made some good plays. Guys were hustling.”
Wichita’s 14 goals is its best over a two-game stretch this season.
Robinson’s hat trick came a night after Greger Hanson did the same to Denver on Saturday, and more than doubled his total goals since returning to the Thunder earlier this month.
“He was a huge piece of the puzzle last year,” Trimm said of Robinson. “This season he came in right away and didn’t miss a step. He’s a guy that can score goals and that’s what we needed.”
Scoring—1. Wichita, Lowe (Robinson), 6:07; 2. Robinson (power play) (Lowe, Inman), 9:04. Penalties—Denver, Towns (tripping), 4:33; Denver, Lutes (goalie interference), 8:20; Denver, Coles (fighting), 11:37; Wichita, Donaghy (fighting), 11:37; Wichita, Young (slashing), 19:43.
Scoring—3. Wichita, Martens (power play) (Robinson, Trimm), 2:41; 4. Wichita, Hanson (Summers, Flath), 3:07; 5. Wichita, Robinson (Trimm, Wright), 12:38. Penalties—Denver, Fulghum (holding), 1:56; Denver, Lutes (too many men), 4:27; Denver, Chabot (fighting), 11:52; Wichita, Young (fighting), 11:52.
Scoring—6. Wichita, Mohr (Young, Summers), 6:29; 7. Wichita, Robinson (Summers, Trimm), 8:17; 8. Denver, Gale (Smyth, Tesoriero), 11:27. Penalties—Denver, Fulghum (hooking), 17:51.
Power play— Denver 0 for 1; Wichita 3 for 5
Shots—Denver 3-5-3—11; Wichita 12-10-6—28.
Saves—Denver, Millan 16 saves on 21 shots, Patterson 5-7; Wichita, Jung 10-11