WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita (26-29-7) returned home needing a victory to keep its playoffs hopes alive against its longest rival in the CHL. Tulsa (31-28-3) broke open a tie-game with three-unanswered goals in the third period and two in a 42-second span to earn a 5-2 win on Saturday night over the Thunder at INTRUST Bank Arena in front of 6,332 fans. RG Flath and Ian Lowe provided the offense while Tomas Klempa recorded another two-point outing against his former team in the losing effort. Wichita finishes the StoneWolf Casino Cup Series with a record of 6-6-2 and falls six points back of the Oilers for eighth place.
Wichita has had a knack of scoring first in the last five games against the Oilers. The trend continued tonight as Ian Lowe got the Thunder on the board at 11:41 of the first period. Shane Madolora was thrown into the pressure cooker in the early going, making several tough saves in the opening period. Wichita fired 14 shots towards the Tulsa netminder, but managed just the one tally.
In the second, the Oilers tied the game after winning a face-off. Todd Robinson scored his first of two at 4:42 after knocking the puck out of the air on the blocker side of David Brown and evened the game at one. At 9:01, the Oilers got one through on the man advantage when Matthew Larke put a one-timer past Brown from the slot as he went down to one knee and a 2-1 lead. The Thunder pulled even with less than three minutes to go in the period. After a Tulsa penalty expired, Matt Summers put a shot into the chest of Madolora that he couldn’t handle. Flath was johnny-on-the-spot and fired it into the net to tie the contest at two.
Both teams went on the power play in the first 10 minutes of the third period. Flath was sent off two minutes for a slash while Scott Macaulay got whistled for a two minute high stick at 7:38. Todd Robinson scored the eventual game-winner at 12:02 from the left hash mark that started the three-goal run in the final period. Blair Macaulay took a Drew Fisher pass 42 seconds later and extended the lead to 4-2. The Thunder got one more chance with a power play, but couldn’t convert with a six-on-four situation after pulling Brown. Larke added another at 19:51 as he found an empty-net to increase the Oilers lead to 5-2.
Klempa had two assists to extend his point-streak to five games. In that span, he has recorded four two-point contests, all of which have come against the Oilers (3, 6a). Klempa finishes with 12 points in 13 games against his former team (3g, 9a). Flath recorded his 22nd of the season and his 72nd of his Thunder career. He moves ahead of Paul Jackson and Cory Dosdall alone in ninth place all-time in goals scored in a Thunder uniform. Brown takes the loss, stopping 21 of 25 shots. Madolora claims the win, stopping 26 of 28 shots he faced.
Wichita was 0-for-5 on the power play. Tulsa went 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
With Wichita Thunder team release
Contact the photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com