Wichita, KS (Jan. 11th) - Head Coach Kevin McClelland reached new heights on Sunday afternoon, taking over the franchise lead in wins as Wichita (18-12-2-4) knocked off Evansville (11-19-2-2) by the final score of 4-3 at INTRUST Bank Arena. McClelland surpasses Bryan Wells with 162 victories behind the Thunder bench and 349 in his career. Ian Lowe led the way with three points while Jared Walker had a goal and an assist. Wichita earns its first-ever win at home against Evansville, finishing the season-series at 1-1-0-0. The Thunder move alone into second place two points ahead of the Tulsa Oilers and three points in front of Quad City.
Wichita dominated the first period, controlling the play inside the offensive zone and unloading 18 shots on net. The IceMen couldn't get much going offensively and were held to five shots through the first 20 minutes.
Ian Lowe scored the game's first goal 13:29 into the second period after catching a pass up the left wing and fired a wrist shot past Scott Greenham's glove for his first of two on the night. Evansville answered five minutes later as Brandon Wong found some room in the right circle and wristed a shot past Tyler Bunz to tie the game at one.
Wichita re-took the lead 1:43 into the third period after Troy Rutkowski was sent off for cross checking. Lowe swung around a screen in the deep slot and ripped a one-timer past Greenham to make it 2-1. At 4:39, Todd Hosmer increased the lead to 3-1 with a break-a-way goal and his 10th of the season. The IceMen clawed back into the contest with two goals in 21 seconds. Matt Lowry connected on a power play goal nine seconds after Hosmer was sent off for a cross-check. At 8:22, Wong recorded his second goal and third point of the night with a wrist shot from the slot that evened the score at three. The Thunder re-captured the lead at 12:14 as Walker's shot got through Greenham to make it 4-3. After both teams were called for minor penalties, Evansville yanked Greenham for the extra attacker with a minute remaining. Bunz held the fort in a frantic end to the game and the Thunder claimed their 18th win of the season.
Wichita connected three times in the third period for the third time this week, outscoring their opponents 12-4 in the final frame over the last six games. Lowe finished with two goals and an assist and now leads the team in points with 36. Walker has goals in his last three and six points over the last four. Wilson finished with a pair of assists, which is his first multi-point outing of the season. Bunz grabbed his sixth win of the season, stopping 28 of 31 shots. Greenham suffered his first loss, stopping 34 of 38 shots he faced.
Wichita went 1-for-5 on the power play. Evansville was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
Wichita begins a five-game road swing next week against the Allen Americans on Friday, January 16th at 7:05 p.m.
Individual tickets are on sale now. Don't delay! Tickets can be purchased at the INTRUST Arena Box office, by calling 755-SEAT or go online at www.selectaseat.com. Stay up-to-date on all the news during the season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 541 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2013-14 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.