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Thunder Bounces Back From Tough Losses

February 9, 2009 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Wichita Thunder News Release

The Wichita Thunder started slow and finished strong last week. Wichita allowed a season-high nine goals in a 9-2 loss to the Mississippi Riverkings on Tuesday night in Southaven. Kings' veteran Darrell Stoddard scored four goals in the third period to lead the Mississippi offense. Jason Duda and Greg Cassista scored the Thunder goals, while Krister Toews took the loss saving 34 of 43.

Wichita suffered another lopsided defeat on Friday at the Kansas Coliseum, losing 8-2 to the Rocky Mountain Rage. Rage forwards Daymen Rycroft, Simon Watson, and Colt King each scored a pair of goals. Mike Zbriger and Joel Hanson chipped in the Thunder tallies, while Toews took the loss saving 20 of 28. The 17 goals allowed were the most by the Thunder in back-to-back games since March 27th, 1999.

The Thunder rallied from an early 2-0 deficit on Saturday and beat the Odessa Jackalopes 6-5 in overtime. Jason Tessier scored at 1:32 into overtime on the power play to give the Thunder the win. Brad Thompson and Jason Duda each scored a goal and two assists. Joel Hanson picked up a goal and an assist. Pascal Bedard contributed two assists. Krister Toews earned the win, saving 25 of 30. The win snapped the Thunder's five-game losing streak.

Duda Passes Sauter

Jason Duda's assist on Joel Hanson's second period goal on Saturday night was the 528th of his career, moving him into sole possession of third place all-time in CHL history. Duda now trails former teammate Travis Clayton (534) and CHL legend Doug Lawrence (684) on the all-time list. Earlier this season, Duda set Thunder franchise records for games played, goals, assists, and points. Duda has 22 points in his last 19 games, including 10 goals.

Tessier is Clutch

Veteran defenseman Jason Tessier has scored eight goals this season, five of which have been game-winners. No one else on the Thunder has more than two game-winning goals this season. Three of Tessier's "gamers" have come in overtime, netting decisive goals in shootouts on November 15th at Rio Grande Valley and November 28th at Tulsa, as well as Saturday's overtime winner over Odessa.

Attendance Thriving

For the fourth consecutive season, the Thunder ranks second in the CHL in attendance. Wichita is averaging 5,375 fans per game, more than 1,600 than the league average. The Thunder has already soldout two games this season, with crowds of 9,560 on October 18th, and 9,487 on January 24th.

"Z" Making His Mark

Center Mike Zbriger, acquired from Corpus Christi at the end of January in exchange for Chris Greene, is on a five-game point streak that includes two goals and three assists. Zbriger has points in six of eight games with the Thunder, and has 35 points in 44 games this season.

Player Notes

Joel Hanson and Jason Duda have points in three consecutive games. Captain Brad Thompson has four points in two games since returning from the IR. Jordan Hack has points in six of his last eight games. Pascal Bedard has five points in his last five games.

Transaction Recap

Last week, the Thunder acquired two centermen, trading for Marc Belanger from the Texas Brahmas and signing Ben Boudreau. Belanger had 10 goals and six assists in 43 games with Texas. Boudreau split time this season in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays and in the IHL with the Flint Generals.

Injury Update

Wichita suffered three more injuries over the weekend, losing Scott Rozendal to a punctured lung sustained during Saturday's practice and Stan Yanchishyn to an eye injury. Both Rozendal and Yanchishyn have been placed on the 14-Day IR. Connor MacDonald, who had played with discomfort in both of his shoulders all season, was placed on the Season-Ending IR. Wichita was able to activate Brad Thompson, who had missed 14 games due to injury. Jonathan Bernier was moved from the 14-Day IR to the 30-Day IR with a foot injury. Mike Batovanja remains on the 30-Day IR, but has resumed skating and is aiming for a return before the end of the season.

Up Next

Wichita next plays on Tuesday night when they head to the BOK Center to take on the Tulsa Oilers. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Coverage can be heard at The Thunder returns home this weekend, hosting the Rocky Mountain Rage on Friday night. Friday will feature the Thunder's second annual Awful Night, sponsored by Moonwalks for Fun and Channell 963. Students can receive upper level tickets for just $7.00 on Friday with the presentation of their Student ID. Natural Light cans will also be on sale for just $1.50. Saturday, the Thunder hosts the Tulsa Oilers. Following the game, Wichita will host its annual "Love on Ice Mass Wedding", sponsored by Hajoca and T-95. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, call the Thunder office at (316) 264-GOAL.

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