The Thunder has experienced a lifetime of changes in the last five years, but it’s been only a fraction of a career for forward Ian Lowe.
The 30-year-old has been with the Thunder as the team moved from the Central Hockey League to the ECHL, a coaching change from Kevin McClelland to Malcolm Cameron, and the affiliation agreement that began this season with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
The Thunder’s fortunes have changed in that time, too, while Lowe has become the face of the franchise, the most identifiable name from this era of Wichita hockey.
He has been a productive player throughout his five years and will likely finish the season among the top five of the Thunder’s career scoring list. Wichita (15-24-3-1) plays host to Colorado on Friday and Lowe’s next point will be his 200th with the team.
“A lot of guys do go from team to team and don’t stick around in one spot,” Lowe said. “Kind of what I wanted to do was get in a spot and not necessarily make a home, but get in a spot and get comfortable and try to make a name for myself. I think that’s kind of what happened here in Wichita.”
Particularly over the last two seasons, Lowe has climbed the Thunder’s scoring list, passing players from past eras like Ron Handy and former teammates such as RG Flath, Daniel Tetrault and Matt Summers.
Lowe most recently passed Matt Robinson and will break a tie with Jim McGeough at 199 points with his next point. Lowe is four points away from fifth place, held by Mark Karpen.
“It’s kind of a cool honor,” Lowe said. “I didn’t actually know it until the other day, Matt Robinson sent me a message in a group chat and was kind of hassling me about it. It’s an honor. You look at some of the names that are on that list … there’s some guys that have put some points up in this league and in the (CHL), so that’s kind of cool.”
Lowe came to Wichita primarily to play for McClelland, who built consecutive CHL finalists – Lowe joined the Thunder for the second of those teams.
Wichita missed the postseason in the final year of the CHL and the first two in the ECHL, leading to McClelland’s firing. Cameron’s first summer produced a major overhaul of the roster, but Lowe survived amidst a roster of much younger players.
Lowe also maintained his status as captain, the leader in the dressing room as he continues to provide on-ice value, with 14 points in 35 games.
“Right away initially, (Cameron’s) first question was, ‘Do you want to play?’ ” Lowe said. “I just said yeah, because I want to be on a team and I want to win and I want to help any way I can. I never, ever said once that I want to be captain and I want all these things given to me.
“I told him that I’m going to work for everything that he gives me, and I want to be able to earn everything. I just wanted to go into camp and play my game and work hard every day, and hopefully the cards would lay out the way they needed to.”
First period-1, Colorado, Corbett 2 (Garbowsky, Register), 2:33 (PP). 2, Colorado, Holmberg 11 (Marto, Pierro-Zabotel), 7:24 (PP). Penalties-Grant Wic (hooking), 0:54; Lowe Wic (slashing ), 6:26; Garbowsky Col (interference), 7:57; Tesink Wic (tripping), 10:41; Brooks Col (kneeing), 13:07; Bolton Wic (hooking), 16:05.
Second period-3, Wichita, Doornbosch 7 (O'Brien, Rupert), 6:17 (PP). 4, Wichita, Marcotte 9 (DeBlouw, Doornbosch), 12:33 (PP). 5, Colorado, Houck 6 (Brooks), 13:12. 6, Colorado, Belzile 3 (Garbowsky, Harrison), 14:35. Penalties-Holmberg Col (interference), 5:04; Corbett Col (hooking), 8:00; DeBlouw Wic (holding the stick), 8:00; Grant Wic (tripping), 9:53; Belzile Col (tripping), 11:44; Garbowsky Col (high-sticking), 19:37.
Third period-7, Wichita, Friedmann 10 (Lowe), 8:43. 8, Colorado, Belzile 4 (Garbowsky), 19:12 (EN). Penalties-Zimmerman Col (hooking), 0:20; Friedmann Wic (interference), 6:34; Register Col (cross-checking), 11:08; Zimmerman Col (double - roughing), 19:50; Tesink Wic (double - roughing), 19:50.
Shots-Colorado 16-14-10-40. Wichita 2-10-9-21.
Power plays-Colorado 2-6; Wichita 2-7.
Goalies-Colorado, Saunders 21 shots-18 saves. Wichita, Greenham 39-35.
Colorado at Thunder
- When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
- Where: Intrust Bank Arena
- Records: Colorado 30-14-1-3, Thunder 15-24-3-1
- Broadcast: wichitathunder.com