Wichita, KS (Dec. 23rd) - Wichita closed its pre-Christmas schedule on Saturday night, falling to Kansas City in a physical contest by the final of 7-4 at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Dyson Stevenson led the way, recording a Gordie Howe hat trick while Mark MacMillan, Ralph Cuddemi and Travis Ewanyk also found the back of the net.
The two teams combined for 40 penalty minutes in the first period. MacMillan gave Wichita a 1-0 lead just 1:34 into the contest with a shorthanded goal. Greg Betzold evened the score at 9:34, tipping a rebound out of the air that hit off of Shane Starrett near the crease and recorded his first of the season. Cuddemi re-gained the lead for the Thunder at 13:26 with a nasty wrist shot from the right circle. Eric Freschi made it 2-2 just a minute later and that would be it for Starrett. He was lifted out of the game and Joel Rumpel came on in relief.
In the second, Kansas City added back-to-back goals three minutes apart from Matt Robertson and Mark Cooper to grab a 4-2 advantage. Stevenson cut the lead back to one with his eighth of the season on the power play. He got to a bouncing puck in the slot and beat Mason McDonald.
Freschi added his second of the game at 5:25 of the third period as he sidestepped a Thunder defenseman at the right circle and fired a wrist shot past Rumpel. Ewanyk got one back with eight minutes to go in regulation, banging home his own rebound in the crease. The Mavericks put the game away over a minute later as Bryce Aneloski blasted a slap shot on the power play to make it 6-4. Justin Breton tacked on an empty-netter and the Mavericks grabbed their first regulation win in the season-series against the Thunder.
Stevenson has goals in three-straight and needs two to equal a career-high that he set last season (10). Cuddemi has goals in back-to-back games. MacMillan netted his team-leading 12th of the year and the team's fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Rumpel suffers the loss, stopping 27 of 31 shots. McDonald grabs the win, stopping 29 of 33 shots he faced.
Wichita went 1-for-4 on the power play. Kansas City was 1-for-2 on the man advantage, scoring its first goal on the power play against the Thunder this season (1-for-27).
The Thunder returns to action after Christmas, starting a four-game mini series against the Allen Americans on Wednesday, December 27th at the Allen Event Center.
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