Thunder rolls over Fort Worth Brahmas

Posted Saturday, Apr. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Wichita Thunder broke a 1-1 tie with a third-period goal and eliminated the Fort Worth Brahmas from the CHL playoffs with a 3-1 victory at NYTEX Sports Centre on Saturday night.

The Thunder’s Ian Lowe tipped in a puck as it dribbled through the crease on a power play, giving Wichita a 2-1 lead with 12:02 left. Wichita’s Todd Griffith added a short-handed empty-net goal with 3:34 left.

“They have a great team over there. We just didn’t get any breaks,” Fort Worth coach Dan Wildfong said. “I think we were just a hair off. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Wichita held the Brahmas scoreless for more than 5 1/2 periods, dating to a goal in the second period of Game 2, before Phil Fox tied the game at 1-1 only 12 seconds into the third period. Fox took a feed from Shawn Szydlowski, cruised through the slot and fired a wrister over the left shoulder of Wichita goalie Torrie Jung. The goal came with the teams skating 4-on-4.

Fort Worth celebrated a potential tying goal at the end of the first period, but officials ruled the tip-in by Colin Mulvey came after time had expired.

Wichita quickly took advantage of the game’s first power play, scoring on its first shot. With Adam Hogg in the box for tripping, Andrew Martens fired a wrist shot from the right circle over Kristofer Westblom’s shoulder on a feed from Greger Hanson only 2:48 into the game.

The Brahmas stepped up the physical play from Game 3, making it hard for Wichita to get up ice or gain any ground around the Fort Worth net.

On offense, Wildfong shuffled the lines, opening with Tomas Klempa centering Fox and Brendon Hodge. Szydlowski joined Calin Wild and John Snowden on a line.

In the second period, Westblom made a key stop, blocking a shot from the point by Wichita’s Travis Wight with his chest and covering the puck. The play came with the teams at 4-on-4 for the third time in the game.

Less than a minute later, the Brahmas had a 4-on-3 advantage for 22 seconds when Martens was whistled for slashing after splitting Klempa’s stick in two as he pursued the puck in the slot. Before the Thunder killed off that penalty, Hogg went to the box for tripping, with 51 seconds left in the second period. Just 44 seconds later, he was followed to the box by Wichita’s Hanson, who received a four-minute double minor for high sticking.


• Before the game, the Brahmas held Family Fest at NYTEX. The event for the fans featured live music, food, contests throughout the arena and player appearances.

• For the second consecutive postseason series, the Brahmas faced a team coached by a former NHL player. Thunder coach Kevin McClelland spent 12 seasons in the NHL, including seven in Edmonton, where he won four Stanley Cups skating alongside Wayne Gretzky and Co. Fort Worth’s first-round opponent, Rapid City, was led by Terry Ruskowski.

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