Wichita, KS (Jan. 12th) - Wichita returned home on Friday night to close out its schedule before the All-Star break. Utah took the front half of a back-to-back, knocking off the Thunder by the final of 4-2.
Evan Polei and Kevin Dufour continued to remain hot as both provided the Thunder offense.
Polei got the Thunder on the board 13 minutes into the game. He found a loose puck at the right circle and beat Kevin Carr over the shoulder for his eighth of the year.
Wichita appeared to take a 2-0 lead with five minutes to go in the period. Colin Martin fired a shot from along the goal line that popped off the back of Carr, went straight in the air and got behind him. The official originally called it a goal on the ice. After conferring with the goal judge, he changed his call and it was waived off. Utah tied the game two minutes later when Ryan Misiak stole it near the left circle, came across the front of the net and beat Shane Starrett to tie the game at one.
In the second, Erik Higby scored to give Utah a 2-1 lead just two minutes in as he re-directed a pass off the rush and put it past Starrett. Jon Puskar made it 3-1 with a power play goal during a two-man advantage at 4:14. He tipped in a long shot from the deep slot for his eighth of the year. Dufour cut the lead to 3-2 with a power play goal at 18:27 and gave the Thunder some momentum heading into the third.
Wichita outshot the Grizzlies in the third period, but couldn't get any closer. Starrett was lifted with just over a minute to go. Ryan Walters won a foot race in the neutral zone and found an empty net to make it 4-2.
Dufour recorded his 11th of the year and extended his point-streak to a season-high nine games. Polei has goals in back-to-back games and extended his point-streak to six games (3g, 4a).
Wichita went 1-for-3 on the power play. Utah was 2-for-7 on the man advantage.
The Thunder returns home tomorrow night to face Utah starting at 7:05 p.m.
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