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October 24, 2005 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Wichita Thunder News Release


Friday, October 21- Odessa 2 at Wichita 6 Win

Saturday, October 22- Oklahoma City 2 at Wichita 3 Win


Friday, October 28- Colorado at Wichita 7:05 PM

Saturday, October 29- Wichita at Colorado 8:05 PM 98.7 FM KFH


Tuesday-Friday Kansas Coliseum 10:00 AM

THUNDER POUNDS ODESSA- The Thunder jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, then pulled away for a 6-2 opening night home victory over the Jackalopes on Friday. Rookie defenseman Darren McMillan scored a shorthanded goal just 50 seconds into the game, followed by goals from Ryan McLean and Joe Blaznek. Odessa cut the lead to one early in the third, but Wichita got two more shorthanded goals from Tyler Liebel and Kris Wiebe, plus a power play tally from Ryan Coghlan to preserve the victory. New goaltender Sebastien Laplante picked up the win, as the Thunder moved their record to 10-2-2 all-time on opening night. Wichita's three shorthanded goals tied a CHL record.

THUNDER STYMIES BLAZERS- Joe Blaznek's second goal of the game, on the power play, midway thru the third period, gave the Thunder a 3-2 win over Oklahoma City on Saturday. Travis Clayton also scored and Jason Duda added three assists, while Laplante again recorded the victory. The Thunder held the Blazers to just 11 shots in the final two periods and a game total of just 25.

LAPLANTE IS A METAL BLADE POWER PLAYER- Goaltender Sebastien Laplante recorded two victories this weekend, earning the first ever Metal Blade Records Thunder Player of the Week Award. Laplante made 59 saves in two games, allowing just four goals. Through opening weekend, Laplante leads the CHL with a .937 save percentage and ranks second with a 2.00 goals against average.

SMOKIN' JOE- Since his acquisition from Lubbock in January of 2004, Joe Blaznek has been nothing short of Mr. Clutch. Of his 50 Thunder goals, 15 have been game-winners. Blaznek, who had both game-winning goals this weekend, also has two playoff game-winners.

THUNDER FANS FLOCK TO OPENING WEEKEND- With opening weekend crowds of 6,010 and 7,202, the Thunder rank third in the CHL, averaging 6,606 fans per game. The total opening weekend crowd was the biggest in Thunder history, when they begin the season with home games on back to back nights. The opening weekend total of 13,212 is the third biggest in Wichita's 14-year history for their first two home games of the season. The Thunder entertained 13,471 fans for their first two games of the 1997-98 season and 13,373 in 1994-95.

BIG WEEKEND AHEAD- For the third straight season, the Thunder and the Colorado Eagles are out of the blocks quickly, setting up a big home-and-home series this weekend. Both teams are 2-0 and have combined to outscore their opponents 19-11. Perhaps no two CHL teams have ever played each other so evenly. In 2003-04, Colorado won the regular season series, but the Thunder defeated the Eagles in the playoffs. Last season the Thunder won the regular season series, but were defeated by the Eagles in the Northern Conference Finals. All-time, the Thunder are 4-4-0 at home versus Colorado, 3-3-1 on the road and 7-7-1 overall. Including playoffs, the Thunder are 12-12-1 against the 2005 CHL Champions. The next closest team in wins over Colorado is the New Mexico Scorpions, who have done it six times in two years.

THUNDERBOLTS- Mark French is the sixth Thunder head coach to win his first game behind the bench...The Thunder are one of just four 2-0 teams in the CHL...It is only the fifth time in franchise history that the Thunder have opened the season with a 2-0 record...Wichita leads the CHL with a very impressive penalty killing percentage of 95.0% (19-20) and three shorthanded goals, but ranks 13th on the power play, at just 10.0% (2-20)...Wichita allowed a CHL-low four goals opening weekend...Daniel Tetrault leads all CHL defensemen with four points.

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