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Tarantulas Lose Lopsided Kansas Cup Tilt

December 16, 2004 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Topeka Tarantulas News Release

For two periods, the ice seemed to be slanted in favor of the Topeka Tarantulas but the visiting Wichita Thunder managed to capitalize on a few Spider turnovers and skate away with a 4-1 win Thursday night.

"The first period was kind of a weird period," said Troy Mann, interim coach for the Tarantulas. "There was really no flow. I thought the second period we really picked it up."

Travis Clayton scored the Thunder's first goal of the game, his tenth of the season, at the 3:45 mark of a physical first period giving them a 1-0 lead to take into the locker room. I n the second period, the Arachnids fired away on Wichita goalie Jamie Vandespyker with no result while Topeka goalie David St. Germain saw no shots until there were three minutes left in the period.

"It's kind of hard to stay in the game when you don't see anything," said St. Germain. "It's not that fun when you're frozen for 15 minutes and the first shot you see is a two-on-one."

At 17:35 in the second, a turnover by Topeka defenseman Tyler Hanchuck led to a two-on-one breakaway and a goal for Wichita center Joe Blaznek, his fifth of the year.

Mike Lukajic cut the score to 2-1 at 2:44 in the third period with his 10th goal of the year and third with the extra man. Lukajic took the puck on a pass across the crease from center Jonathan Dubois and buried it on his second whack at it.

That would be all the scoring the Spiders could muster in the game as Wichita netted two more from forwards Tyler Liebel and Mike Carter to give them the 4-1 win.

The Tarantulas play the second half of the home-and-home battle for the Kansas Cup tomorrow night in Wichita. Mann looks to come out of the Coliseum with a result different from tonight.

"We've won in there before. We have to in and play a patient game to get the win," said Mann. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night in the latest round of the Turnpike Tussle.

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