WICHITA, Kan. – R.G. Flath scored twice and Kevin Young added a goal and two assists as the Wichita Thunder defeated the Fort Worth Brahmas 4-1 in game one of the CHL Playoff Semi-Finals in front of 2,452 fans Wednesday at Intrust Bank Arena.
The win makes Wichita a perfect 5-0 on the young post-season. Young’s nine playoff points in just five games has him tied for the scoring lead with Missouri’s Kellan Tochkin.
Goaltender Torrie Jung won his fifth game of the post-season, stopping 22-of-23 shots while the Thunder out-shot the Brahmas 33-23. The Thunder special teams unit was perfect on the night, holding the Brahmas scoreless on four power play chances while capitalizing twice when they had the man advantage.
Fort Worth struck first, scoring on a Shawn Szydlowski goal 7:44 into the game, marking just the second time this post-season that Wichita did not score first. Szydlowski took a pass from Tomas Klempa, and wristed a shot past Jung to put the Brahmas on top 1-0.
Wichita would even the score just over two-minutes later when Young managed to put the puck past Fort Worth’s Kristofer Westblom during a scrum in front of the net.
Wichita effectively pulled away in the middle frame, netting two power play goals while out-shooting Fort Worth 12-9. 7:12 into the second, Chad Painchaud put the Thunder on top, sending home a slap shot from the right circle while on the power play.
Flath added to the lead with a power play marker of his own seven minutes later, making it 3-1 on a deflected shot by Young. Andrew Martens was given the secondary assist on the play.
The Thunder defense then went to work in the third period, holding the Brahmas to seven shots and fighting off a shorthanded situation late in the frame. With 18-seconds remaining, Flath would pick up the puck and fire a shot into the empty net from just outside the blue line to add the final insult.
The Thunder look to improve on their 1-0 series lead tonight when they host the Brahmas again at the Intrust Bank Arena. The opening faceoff is set for 7:05 P.M. CDT. The series will then take a week off before shifting to North Richland Hills, Texas for two games. Game three is scheduled for Thursday, April 18 while game four will follow on Saturday, April 20. The Thunder will host game five and game seven if necessary, on April 21 and April 24, respectively.
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