3/17/2012 11:32:00 PM Wichita downs 'Dogs, remains the CHL team to beat
Johnna Raymond/Courtesy photo The Sundogs’ Corey Toy, left, muscles past Alex Bourret of the Thunder Saturday night in Wichita.
Johnna Raymond/CourtesyWichita forward Dustin Donaghy, left, looks for a seam against the Sundogs’ Shawn Morton-Boutin Saturday night.
The Daily Courier
With the Central Hockey League's playoff picture taking shape as the regular season hits its final week, the Wichita Thunder are running away with the league.
The Thunder handled the visiting Arizona Sundogs 2-1 Saturday before a huge St. Patrick's Night crowd of 5,637 at the Intrust Bank Arena. The Sundogs squandered a 1-0 lead at the second intermission by allowing both Thunder goals in the third period.
With 87 points, Wichita - already having clinched a playoff spot - is leading the CHL in points, wins (42), goals scored (217) and home victories (23).
The Thunder have won seven of their last 10 games as the season hits its final stretch. The regular season ends next Sunday, March 25.
Arizona's Adam Smyth broke a scoreless tie with his goal at the 6-minute mark of the second period, off assists from Luke Erickson and Corey Toy. The host Thunder knotted things up midway through the third on a Matt Robinson goal, then got loose for what proved to the be game-winner, when Chris Chappell beat Sundogs goalie Mike Spillane with a power play goal just two minutes before the end of regulation.
Robinson, an MVP candidate, notched his 32nd goal of the season.
The Sundogs (17-36-9, 43 points) will try to snap a six-game losing skid with a rematch against the Thunder Sunday on the Wichita ice. Game time is 4:05 p.m.
Arizona, which has lost 13 of 14 games overall, hosts its final three games of the 2011-12 season at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, starting with the Allen Americans on Wednesday night at 7:05.