WICHITA, Kan. (Dec. 22) – The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, AHL's San Jose Barracuda and powered by Toyota, continues its four-game homestand tonight with another meeting against Rapid City.
Last night, The Thunder won the first of a three-game set against the Rush by a 6-3 final. After Rapid City tied the game in the first, Wichita rolled off four-unanswered, including three in the second. The Rush tried to make a game of it with two goals in 15 seconds late in the third. Wichita held off the late charge with an empty-net goal and came out with the win.
The Thunder moved four points ahead Rapid City for second place in the Mountain Division. The Rush losing skid hit five games and saw their record dip to 13-13-0-0.
Brayden Watts added two more goals last night, giving him six points over his last four games (3g, 3a). He is tied for third in the league with 29 points. Watts has already matched his goal totals from last season as he collected his 13th and 14th markers last night.
Michal Stinil has been red hot since the night before Thanksgiving. He has points in 10 of his last 12 games, two or more points in seven of his last nine. He recorded three points last night. Over that stretch, Stinil has collected 12 points (6g, 6a). He needs five points to equal his totals from a year ago when he tallied 30 points in 54 games as rookie.
The Thunder are getting offensive contributions from the backend this season. Cole MacDonald and Dominic Dockery each had two points last night. Zack Hoffman added an assist as well.
Evan Buitenhuis claimed his third-straight win last night. He stopped 44 shots to earn his eighth victory of the season. Buitenhuis is second in saves (567), third in minutes (1019). He has a 2.89 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.
The Thunder power play have been solid against the Rush this season. Wichita went 2-for-4 last night and is 5-for-18 on the season, good for a 27.8% clip. The Thunder have given up three goals in 17 chances for Rapid City, good for a 82.4% kill rate.
THUNDERBOLTS...Brayden Watts is tied second in the league in goals (14)...Dylan MacPherson is tied for fourth among defensemen with five goals...Mark Liwiski is fifth for rookies with 47 penalty minutes...Wichita is 9-1-0 when leading after two...Wichita is 4-2-0 when tied after one...Wichita is 9-3-2 in one-goal games...Wichita is 11-6-2 when being outshot by its opponent..
RUSH NOTES – Matt Marcinew is third in the league with 29 points and second in shots (108)...Daniil Chechelev leads the league in wins (12), minutes played (1,114) and saves (574)...Rory Kerins is tied for 14th in rookie scoring with 18 points...Logan Nelson, Calder Brooks and Garrett Klotz each spent time in Wichita...
Tonight is our annual Dream Drive, benefiting The Salvation Army. Fans will have a chance to scan a QR code throughout the game on the video board to donate back to a great cause. All the money donated will stay locally in South Central Kansas and benefit families for the holidays. To buy tickets, click here.
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