Despite a valiant effort in the CHL Finals, the Wichita Thunder will head into the post-season with a ‘what might have been’ mindset.
After a brilliant regular season that saw them earn 91 points and the Bud Poile Governors’ Cup as the league’s best regular season club, they fell in the Finals to the Fort Wayne Komets in five games.
Heading into the Finals, the Thunder were soaring in confidence after a five game series win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the Opening Round and a six game series win over the Texas Brahmas in the conference finals.
Wichita had home ice advantage heading into the Finals against the Komets and a 6-0 record at the INTRUST Bank Arena with Game’s 1 and 2 sitting there for the taking but the Komets came into Kansas and skated right past the Thunder with a 5-3 win in Game 1 and a 6-3 win in Game 2.
The Thunder would be put into a spot that no team had ever overcome in the Finals being down 2-0 with both losses on home ice.
A dismantling Game 3 win by the Komets made things even more dire as no team in 20 playoff series’ have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
The Thunder have Game 4 to hang their hats on as they battled and should great guts in a 4-3 win in Fort Wayne forcing the series to a Game 5 and an early penalty shot goal in Game 5 by Aaron Davis gave his club hope but about 10 minutes later, the outcome was no longer in doubt thanks to four straight first period goals by the Komets and later, the 6-3 win.
Now 2012 CHL Coach of the Year Kevin McClelland will have the off-season to look back and time to look ahead to 2012-13 and what will his team bring to the ice next season.
All and all, a successful season but no doubt the players, coaches, organization and fans will think of ‘what might have been’.