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Rolling Thunder: Long Homestand Continues

Photo: Cat Gonzales/The Sin Bin

Rolling Thunder: Long Homestand Continues

WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder continued their ten-game homestand last week, clicking off another four games. The Thunder hosted the Utah Grizzlies for a pair, followed by the Kansas City Mavericks in a rescheduled game, and welcomed in the Tulsa Oilers to open up the final three games of the homestand.

The Past Week:

Two Games vs. Utah (2-0-0-0; 4 of 4 possible points gained)

  • Friday, March 5, 2021 – On Star Trek night, Evan Weninger was captain Jean-Luc Picard, turning aside all 38 shots en route to his first professional shutout and a 3-0 Thunder win. Brayden Watts quietly added two assists to his rookie campaign, his first career multi-point game. (TSB Recap)
  • Saturday, March 6, 2021 – Saturday night’s all right for a comeback. After tying the game early in the second period, the Grizzlies scored the next two goals in the middle part of the period, before the Thunder answered with the game’s final haymaker. At 18:02 of the second, Anthony Beauregard tipped home a pass from Patrik Parkkonen to cut the lead to 3-2.  In the third, Wichita tied the game at 7:49 when Watts found a rebound near the slot and beat Carr for his second of the year. At 15:07, Peter Crinella recorded the eventual game-winner with another hard-working play near the crease for his seventh of the season.

One Game vs. Kansas City (0-0-0-1; 1 of 2 possible points gained)

  • Sunday, March 7, 2021 – In a goaltending showcase, Alex Sakarellopoulos and Matt Ginn turned aside 78 shots through 67 minutes of action, before Adam Brady scored the shootout-winner in the top of the third round.

One Game vs. Tulsa (0-1-0-0; 0 of 8 possible points gained)

  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021 – The Thunder began a four-game set against the Oilers, in a game that had a bit of controversy.
    Watts tallied the lone Wichita goal with assists to Spencer Dorowicz and Cam Clarke. Evan Weninger stopped 35 shots in the losing effort. Wichita appeared to take a 2-1 lead in the second when Jay Dickman got to a loose puck near the crease and put it past Durny, but the referee disallowed the goal because of goaltender interference. Garrett Cockerill scored the game-winning goal on the power-play in the middle stages of the third period.

The Pros:

  • Since the March 2 game against Rapid City, the Thunder have held the opponent to three goals or less (6 GA in 4 games…a goals against average of 1.46 with two shutouts)
  • Brayden Watts continues to earn his top-line time, posting four points in his last five games (2G, 2A)
  • Alex Sakarellopoulos has quickly become a great complement to Weninger in net. He stopped all 25 Rapid City shots in relief of Weninger on March 2, then pitched a 67-minute shutout on Sunday afternoon. Heading into a likely start this weekend, Sakarellopoulos has a minuscule 1.06 goals against average.

The Cons:

  • The Thunder power-play has once again gone missing, having not scored in five straight games. They are 0-20 on the man-advantage in that stretch
  • Matteo Gennaro has not scored a goal in eight games and has just one lamplighter in his last 16 games

The Stats:

  • Goals: Beauregard – 12
  • Assists: Beauregard – 19
  • Plus/Minus: Beauregard & Graves +17
  • Rookie Scoring: Jay Dickman – 21 points (8G, 13A; 8 goals tied 2nd among ECHL rookies, 13 assists tied for the lead, 21 points is tied for second-most points among rookie players)
  • Goalies:
    • Evan Weninger, 12-4-3-0, 2.58 goals against average, 1 shutout, .927 save percentage, 1187 minutes played, and 649 saves made (T-most wins, most minutes played, most saves made, 2nd in save percentage, 8th best goals against average)
    • Alex Sakellaropoulous, 2-1-0-1, 1.06 goals against average, .971 save percentage, and a shutout

Thunder Players in the AHL:

Currently, there are no players on an NHL/AHL contract on the Thunder roster. We’re dedicating this space for players who played here this year on NHL/AHL contracts. We’ll have their current AHL statline and, in parenthesis, their stats with the Thunder this season:

  1. Gordie Green – TOR – still has not played an AHL game this season (5G, 8A, 13 pts, and +3 in 12 games with Wichita)
  2. Jeremy McKenna – TOR – 7 GP, 0G, 2A with Marlies this season (4G, 7A, 11 pts, and +4 in 13 games with Wichita)
  3. Bobby McMann – TOR – 4 GP, no points with Marlies this season (5G, 11A, 16 pts, and +13 in 15 games with Wichita)
  4. Noel Hoefenmayer – TOR – still has not played an AHL game this season (2G, 5A, 7 pts, and -2 in 16 games with Wichita)

The Coming Week:

Oil and Water

The Thunder will wrap up their ten-game homestand, playing two more games against the Oilers tonight and Saturday night. They’ll finish yet another four-game week in Tulsa on Sunday afternoon. Each game in the season series has been settled by one goal.

Can’t Make it to the Arena?

Tonight and tomorrow night’s game are scheduled for a 7:05 pm puck drop, with The Sin Bin Pregame Show starting at 6:30 pm on The Sin Bin app. Sunday’s game is scheduled for a 4:05 pm puck drop, with the pregame show starting at 3:30 pm.

You can listen to every Wichita Thunder game this season on The Sin Bin app.

Around the ECHL:

  • The Utah Grizzlies host the Allen Americans in a three-game set at Maverik Center
  • Greenville and Jacksonville play a three-game set in a battle of teams looking to get into a playoff position
  • Kansas City and Rapid City play a three-game set at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!

    Matthew Harding is the Managing Editor for Field Pass Hockey, covers the ECHL and the Wichita Thunder. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHThunder.

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