FORT WAYNE, IN (May 23) – Wichita closed a three-game series on Sunday afternoon, knocking off Fort Wayne by the final of 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum.
The Thunder becomes the first team in the ECHL to 40 wins this season. Gordie Green, Jeremy McKenna and Brayden Watts scored for the Thunder and Evan Buitenhuis made 23 saves for his 15th win of the season.
In the first, Green recorded his seventh of the year at 10:23 to make it 1-0. Ryan White found him cutting down the slot and Green redirected a pass through Robbie Beydoun. At 14:28, McKenna made it 2-0 when he collected a loose puck behind the goal line and banked it off the back of Beydoun.
The second period was a defensive struggle as both teams limited scoring chances. At one point, Wichita only registered six shots while giving up two for the Komets through 15 minutes of the frame.
In the third, Watts was called for a four-minute double minor at 3:57. Wichita killed off the chance and continued to lead 2-0. Watts made up for the penalty as he tallied his 10th of the season at 13:53. He took a pass from Jacob Graves through the slot and roofed a backhand over Beydoun's glove to make it 3-0.
Marco Roy put the Komets on the board at 16:13 with a power play tally to cut the lead to 3-1. Fort Wayne pulled its netminder with two minutes left, but couldn't solve Buitenhuis and the Thunder skated away with the win.
Wichita wins 40 games for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. The Thunder franchise record for wins in a season is 44, which took place in 1994-95 and 2011-12.
For the second game in a row, the Thunder had to kill off a four-minute double minor in the third period.
Nine different players recoded points. Watts has goals in back-to-back games and points in his last three. Beau Starrett collected an assist and has points in eight of his last nine games. Stefan Fournier has assists in back-to-back games and helpers in four of his last five. Stephen Johnson added an assist, giving him helpers in three-straight.
Wichita closes a four-game road trip next Friday in Oklahoma against the Oilers starting at 7:05 p.m.
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