WICHITA, Kan. – Shane Madolora has been a thorn in the side of the Thunder (23-25-4) this season and that continued on Friday night in a 3-0 loss to Tulsa (28-23-3) at INTRUST Bank Arena. Madolora stopped all 25 shots he faced, earning his second shutout against Wichita this year and his fourth of the season. Wichita drops to 3-5-1 in the StoneWolf Casino Cup series and nine points back of the Oilers in the standings.
Tulsa sat back defensively throughout the game and clogged the middle of the ice. Wichita had trouble getting shots through as the Oilers held the Thunder to just four shots in the first period. Ryan Menei took advantage of a clearing attempt at 16:31as he got behind the Thunder defense. As he was about to get a shot off, Garrett Gruenke was able to get back to deny him a chance of getting a shot off. The official ruled a penalty shot and Menei was able to score to the glove side of Taylor Nelson to take a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Wichita started to generate some chances only to be stopped by Madolora from in-close. Ben Gordon, who has been the hottest player in the league over the last two weeks, gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead at 4:49 when he grabbed his own blocked shot and put it past Nelson. Towards the end of the period, Wichita was awarded a five-on-three that carried over into the third.
The Thunder began the final period with a two-man advantage, but had trouble entering the zone with possession. The first penalty expired as there was 30 seconds remaining that carried over. The Oilers got through the second chance without allowing much on Madolora and remained on top with a 2-0 lead. Tulsa received a five-on-three three just a few minutes later when Erick Lizon was called for tripping and Jon Madden was sent off for a cross check. The Thunder penalty killing unit held its ground, busting both opportunities.
With under three minutes left, Adam Pleskach was sent off for a high stick, giving the Thunder its fifth power play chance of the night. Tulsa got a clearing attempt off the ensuing face-off. After the Thunder came back up the ice, Nelson was called to the bench for the extra attacker and a six-on-four situation. Michel Beausoleil stole a loose puck after Ian Lowe got clipped in the face with a high stick and rifled it down the ice into the empty net to make it 3-0 to close out the scoring.
Wichita was blanked for the fourth time this season and the first time since January 4th. Ryan Menei’s penalty shot is the first one attempted this year against the Thunder. Each of the three penalty shots that have occurred this season for and against the Thunder have come against Tulsa. Wichita’s streak of out-shooting its opponent is stopped at 10-straight. Nelson takes the loss, stopping 32 of 34 shots. Madolora claims his 24th win of the season, stopping all 25 shots on net.
The two teams went a combined 0-for-11 on the power play as Wichita was 0-for-5 and Tulsa went 0-for-6.
Wichita travels to Missouri Saturday night and then returns home on Sunday afternoon to host Arizona at 5:05 p.m.
With Wichita Thunder team release
Contact the photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com