WINGS DELIVER BLAST TO FANS IN EXCITING HOME WIN, 11-6
The home opener of the 2021-2022 Wichita Wings season is in the books and if you weren't there - you missed a heckuva game that had it all. High scores, lots of penalty minutes, newcomers with breakout efforts and some familiar faces putting on their best show.
Best of all, the Wings won and won big. The final score for the Dec. 18 game at Hartman Arena was Wichita Wings 11, Amarillo Bombers 4.
"Our energy and effort was good all night," enthused Coach Roger Downing. "It was definitely a learning game for our younger guys. We will only get better from here."
Wichita Wings came out strong, dominating in the first minutes of the game. But they set off an explosion of points in the second quarter. The team fired off a total of six goals with only 10 shots-on-goal. The Wings were not just dominant, but accurate on-goal, taking just 35 shots compared to the 44 taken by the Bombers during the entire match.
The game was also notable for the amount of penalty minutes. The Wichita Wings played their patient game of thoughtfulness and skill while the score quickly became lopsided and the Amarillo players became increasingly frustrated and their play frenetic.
Penalty minutes picked up in the second quarter - with about half of the game's 21 penalty minutes being racked up before halftime began. The Bombers were busted for unsportsmanlike conduct and pushing while the Wings took seats for unsportsmanlike conduct and dissent, the latter of which sent Kieran Laking to the sin bin for five minutes.
And, while some rough play might make an exciting game for the fans, it was concerning for Downing, who was additionally uneasy about the officiating overall.
"I think the referees let the game get out of control. They cheap-shotted us numerous times last night," said Downing.
When the game gets rough, there can be injuries, as shown by the four times the Wichita trainer was called to the field to check on or assist a downed player. One of those players laid out on the pitch was Wichita Wings goal keeper, Steve Hamersky, who had 18 saves in the game. He went down just outside the box clutching his head and guarding his face, causing the crowd to worry about a possible concussion or even lost teeth. He left the game with about two minutes left to play.
"Hamersky does have a concussion and still has all of his teeth. You can’t make him an uglier that he already is," joked Downing, his friend and coach. "But, he will be alright."
Owner Blake Shumaker agreed, saying the doctors believe it is a mild concussion, but that the team and their doctors are taking it seriously.
"He will be treated over the coming weeks accordingly and need to be cleared for light activity to run, etc., then they’ll slowly release him for added activity as time goes on," said Shumaker.
Aaron Parrott took up position in the goal for the remaining two minutes and held off a final Bomber blitz, with three saves of his own.
The offense was the star of the night, however. Kevin Ten Eyck was the "hat trick hero" of the game, owning a total of four points - three goals and one assist. Eduardo "Benji" Monreal wasn't far behind, blasting in two goals of his own and Jared Robbins also popped two in the back of the Bombers goal.
Also notable was newcomer Bransyn Felty, who scored his first two goals in front of the Orange as a Wichita Wing.
You would never know that Felty was new to the indoor game with his stats or by the large crowd surrounding him post-game, looking for photos with the new Wing.
"Bransyn has a really high ceiling as he is just now starting to learn the indoor game," said Downing. "He is extremely coachable and gets better every day. We are lucky to have him."
Also lucky are the Wings players, who welcomed Benji back into their midst after a few games with the Kansas City Comets in the preseason. Just enjoy him and his clutch plays while you can, he is destined to move up to the MASL.
"Benji is always a good addition," said Downing, "but he is having some visa issues, so he is unable to play in KC. We are always excited to have him in our lines."
BACK IN ACTION NEXT YEAR
The next home game for the Wings is January 2, 2021. The men in Orange will take on the Omaha Kings who are also undefeated thus far in the young season. Tickets are on-sale now at HartmanArena.com and is presented by: Family Mitsubishi.
SURPRISE WINGS GAME!
As if you couldn't love your Wichita Wings any more - members of the team volunteered to travel to Kansas City for a non-league game against the Comets, Dec. 19. The Baltimore Blast was forced to stay home due to league Covid protocols and the Comets had a big, holiday blast planned for their fans, complete with a Toys for Tots drive. The Wings have stepped up and many are making the trip. Keep an eye on the Comet social media for updates and details.
Here's the info if you want to catch the action:
Game starts at 4: p.m., Dec. 19, 2021.