BRAMPTON, Ontario. – After grabbing an early lead, Wichita (21-22-4) couldn’t slow down Brampton (24-20-5) in the second en route to a 4-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Powerade Centre. The Beast scored four goals in the second and kept the Thunder off the scoreboard down the stretch. Wichita trails in the season-series 2-3-0 as the two teams will play the regular season finale tomorrow afternoon.
Wichita got off to a good start, scoring just five minutes in. Ian Lowe made a nice move through the neutral zone and ripped a shot past the shoulder of Kristopher Westblom for his 12th of the season. David Brown was tested quickly after that as Brampton tried to answer but the Thunder took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
In the second, Brampton came out of the gates hard. Scott Howes scored two-straight goals less than three minutes apart to grab the lead for good. His first came at 2:38 from the deep slot after receiving a pass from Matt Suderman. The second came at 5:10 after he got to a rebound that came off of Brown’s leg pad and made it 2-1.
Calin Wild increased the lead to 3-1 at11:27 after Jamie VanderVeeken put a shot through traffic. The scoring closed when Jason Pitton fired a snap shot from between the circles past Brown’s glove on the power play at 16:55. Both teams had 11 shots in the second, but the Beast took a 4-1 lead into the third.
The Thunder controlled much of the final frame and out-shot Brampton at one point, 8-2. Wichita had two chances with the man advantage, but failed to find the back of the net. The Thunder pressed hard in the final three minutes of regulation to get back into the game, hemming the Beast inside their own defensive zone. Westblom stood tall and held up the fort for the 4-1 win.
Wichita drops back below .500 with the loss and seven points back of Brampton. Lowe has goals in back-to-back games with his tally this afternoon. Martens recorded an assist and moves back into first place in the defensive scoring race with 37 points (8g, 29a). Brown loses for just the third time in his last 11 games, stopping 17 of 21 shots. Westblom gets the win, stopping 31 of 32 shots.
Wichita went 0-for-2 on the power play. Brampton was 1-for-2 with the man advantage.
Wichita plays tomorrow afternoon in the regular season finale against the Beast at 1 p.m. central time. The Thunder return home on Friday, February 21st against the Allen Americans at 7:05 p.m.
With Wichita Thunder team release
Contact the photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com