The Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League will hit two big milestones tonight as they get set to take on longtime rival, the Tulsa Oilers. Tonight’s meeting will be the 228th All-Time between the two franchises. Along with that, the Thunder are excited to be honoring the 71st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor with special guests Paul Aschbrenner and Arthur Dunn, who will be in attendance for tonight’s game.
Wichita and Tulsa met earlier this season during Opening Weekend and have not played since. The Thunder are 117-96-14 all-time against Tulsa and 67-40-8 at home. Wichita lost the first meeting on October 19th, 4-3 and came back to thrash the Oilers 8-2 the following night. Matt Summers and Greger Hanson each have six points (2g, 4a) against Tulsa this season while the Oilers have seven players with a pair of points against Wichita.
Kevin Regan has been on fire in net since mid-November, going 4-1-1 in his last six decisions and allowing just 12 goals over that stretch. His only regulation loss was a 2-0 set-back to the Cutthroats. Regan is 7-5-2 on the season with the league’s second best goals-against-average at 2.26.
Tulsa has had a balanced attack in their last ten games, with three players recording 10 or more points Ben Gordon has led the way, tallying 13 points while Ryan Menei is right behind him with 12. The Oilers are 3-6-1 over that stretch and have given up the most goals in the league (82).
The Thunder are also extremely excited to be hosting two WWII vets from the Kansas area. Aschbrenner and Dunn were on board the USS Oklahoma when it took nine torpedo hits from Japanese planes on the morning of December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. This Friday marks the 71st Anniversary of the attack that brought the United States of America to the brink of war. Aschbrenner and Dunn are just two of the less than ten Kansans still living who were stationed at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. Two years ago, Aschbrenner and Dunn were honored at a special ceremony and received medals that they were entitled to when their military service ended in 1946 and 1947. Both men continued to serve throughout World War II through various battles in the Pacific.
"Both of these incredible men have said that all they want is for us, as Americans, to remember that infamous day," commented Chris Ross, Director of Game Operations. "Most importantly to remember their fallen brothers who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to remember that we must always be ready for anything. With around 670 WWII Veterans passing each day, we are running out of time to honor these heroes and learn from them. Having Paul and Arthur with us this Friday night is the opportunity of a lifetime to do just that."
On December 28th, the Wichita Thunder have partnered with the Kansas Honor Flight Program in raising funds to send WWII Veterans to the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Groups who are interested in supporting the Kansas Honor Flight Program can contact Chris Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase tickets for Friday, December 28th against the Missouri Mavericks. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Wichita will hit the road after tonight’s game against the Allen Americans for the first time this season. The Thunder will return home on Sunday afternoon to take on the Quad City Mallards at 5:05 p.m., presented by Speedy Cash. For tickets, call 755-SEAT, visit the INTRUST Bank Arena box office or online at www.selectaseat.com .