Elmira, NY (Dec. 7th) - Playing each other for the first time ever, Wichita (9-8-1-3) and Elmira (12-7-0-3) battled one another like they were 20-year old rivals. The Jackals got the best of the Thunder on Sunday afternoon, winning 5-1 in a physical contest at First Arena. The two teams combined for 174 penalty minutes in the third period alone. Todd Hosmer provided the lone Thunder tally on the night. Wichita's record drops to 9-8-1-3 with one more game remaining on the current four-game road trip.
It didn't take long for the Jackals to grab the lead. Matt Tassone one-timed a shot that clipped off of Danick Gauthier and got past Tyler Bunz just 59 seconds into the first. The Thunder found their bearings and started to generate some offensive chances as the first went along.
In the second, Elmira got another early goal when Steven Shamanski's shot off a face-off got through traffic and past Bunz to make it 2-0. Todd Hosmer recorded his fifth of the season at 10:43 with a power play goal that cut the lead to 2-1. Elmira answered three minutes later as Mike Seidel got past the Thunder defense and scored on a break-a-way over Bunz's glove to re-gain a two-goal advantage, up 3-1. Wichita outshot the Jackals in the second, 14-8, but still trailed heading into the final 20 minutes.
Elmira added two in a fight-filled third period to pull away from the Thunder. At 8:54, Thomas Nesbitt tipped home a shot from the blue line four seconds into a power play that made it 4-1. Justin Daniels redirected a shot from Zach Tolkinen at 12:16 that made it 5-1.
With less than seven minutes remaining, Dan Milan got tangled up with a man in front of the Thunder net. Players came together near the slot and started pushing and shoving. One thing led to another and an all-out line brawl ensued. Both goaltenders left their respective creases and were about to go at it in the center circle before they were stopped by the linemen. When things quieted down, each team lost four guys for the rest of the game. 30 seconds later, Theo Peckham and Nick Tuzzolino were sent to the showers while Dalton Reum and Taylor Stefishan went at it. In all, the two teams combined for 188 penalty minutes, 10 fighting majors and had four reserves left on their benches to close out the final five minutes of regulation.
Hosmer recorded his fifth of the season and Wichita's first power play goal of the weekend. Five players finished with 10 or more minutes in penalties as Ian Lowe, RG Flath and Danick Gauthier each had 15. Bunz takes the loss, stopping 16 of 21 shots. Fullerton claims the victory, stopping 23 of 24 shots he faced.
Wichita went 1-for-5 on the power play. Elmira was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Wichita closes out its four-game road trip on Wednesday night against the Tulsa Oilers at the BOK Center. The Thunder return home on Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th. Friday night is Union Night and Saturday is the annual Teddy Bear Toss and Toys for Tots, presented by Bank of the West and Hajoca.
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.