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Rolling Thunder: Tight Defense and Start of Long Homestand

Rolling Thunder: Tight Defense and Start of Long Homestand

WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder played the Tulsa Oilers for the first time in two months and came off the road to host the Kansas City Mavericks for a Sunday matinee.

The Past Week:

Two Games vs. Tulsa (1-0-1-0)

  • Friday, February 19, 2021 – With coaches Bruce Ramsay and John Gurskis out due to league safety protocols, Evan Weninger was the star of the show for Wichita, making 46 stops on 49 shots faced. Wichita had a 2-1 lead in the third period before the Oilers tied it with about five minutes left and Matt Lane won it in overtime. Dean Stewart scored his first professional goal.
  • Saturday, February 20, 2021 – Alex Sakellaropoulous made his Thunder netminding debut and was spectacular, saving 35 of 36 Tulsa shots, including 14 in the first period. Wichita controlled the final forty minutes of play, with goals from Peter Crinella and Stewart (his first game-winning goal) as the Thunder claimed their eighth road win of the year, beating Tulsa 2-1.

Sunday vs. Kansas City

  • In another goaltending dual, Matt Ginn and Evan Weninger kept the game scoreless through the first 42 minutes of the contest. Boston Leier scored the game’s first goal at 2:23. Minutes later during a two-man advantage, Anthony Beauregard buried a wrist-shot past Ginn to tie the game 1-1. Then with 1:37 left, Stefan Fournier jammed a puck past the right post to give Wichita the 2-1 win. Weninger stopped 35 of 36 Mavericks shots he faced.

The Pros:

  • Despite allowing more than 35 shots in each game last weekend, the Thunder defense and netminding allowed just five goals (.959 save percentage and 1.65 goals against average)
  • The penalty kill was perfect this past week, going 9-for-9. For the season, Wichita has the third-best penalty kill with a kill rate of 88.6 percent (78-88)
  • The power-play appears to be awakening from its early-season slumber, with goals in five of the last ten games. The man-advantage is still ranked 12th, with a 12.0 percent success rate

The Cons:

  • The Thunder have allowed more than 30 shots in 13 straight games. Wichita allows the most shots per game in the league, with an average of 35.14/game

The Stats:

  • Goals: Fournier – 10 (T-8th in ECHL)
  • Assists: Beauregard – 16  (T-2nd in ECHL)
  • Points: Beauregard – 22 (T-5th in ECHL)
  • Plus/Minus: Cam Clarke and Jacob Graves +15 each (T-3rd in ECHL)
  • Rookie Scoring: Jay Dickman – 15 pts (7G, 8A) (7 goals tied for rookie lead, 8 assists tied for 7th, 15 points is sixth-best for rookies)
  • Goalies:  Evan Weninger, 8-3-2-0, 2.49 goals against average, .927 save percentage (3rd in wins and save percentage, 7th best goals against average)
    Alex Sakellaropoulous, 1-0-0-0, 1.00 goals against average, .972 save percentage

Who’s In, Who’s Out:

  • The Thunder released J.C. Campagna and Chantz Petruic last Tuesday, while signing Sakellaropoulos
  • Defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer was recalled by the Toronto Marlies
  • Announced the signing of forward Stephen Johnson Monday afternoon. He finished last season with 37 points (19G, 18A) in 30 games and led the team in goals. Johnson was named to the Atlantic USports Second All-Star Team. Overall, he appeared in 119 games for the St. Mary’s Huskies, tallying 76 points (31G, 45A)
  • Currently, there are no NHL/AHL contracts on the Thunder roster

The Coming Week:

Horsin’ Around:

In the lone game in the ECHL tonight, the Thunder travel to Independence to complete the home-and-home against the Mavericks. Entering tonight’s contest, the Thunder have won five of six against Kansas City. Interestingly, three of the game decided by one goal, while the other three have been decided by two or more goals.

Rushin’ Home:

Wichita comes home for a ten-game homestand spanning 16 days beginning Friday night when the Thunder host the Rapid City Rush for a four-game set. The Thunder has a 2-1-0-0 record against the Rush this season. In each game of the season series, the team who has won has done so by three goals.

Can’t Make it to the Arena?

Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 7:05 pm puck drop with the Wichita Thunder pregame show presented by The Sin Bin with Matthew Harding and Matthew Will starting at 6:40 pm on The Sin Bin app. On Friday and Saturday nights, the pregame show gets the night started at 6:30 pm, with puck drop set for 7:05 pm. 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 Allen Americans resume play after a 10-day layoff Thursday night in Greenville, where they play the Swamp Rabbits in a three-game set
  • Fort Wayne and Indy will resume the “Battle of Indiana” with a three-game set this weekend at Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Jacksonville and Orlando play a three-game set

Matthew Harding and Matthew Will cover the Wichita Thunder for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with them on Twitter @SinBinThunder.

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 2021 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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