PREVIEW: Poster Boy

Friday, 02.04.11 / 1:46 AM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

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VIDEO: Tyson Sexsmith morning skate interview
VIDEO: Wayne Thomas media comments on Thunder/San Jose affiliation


DATE: : Friday, February 4, 2011
TIME: 7:05 p.m.
SITE: Stockton Arena
RADIO: 1280 KWSX/StocktonThunder.com (AmericaOne)

NHL AFFILIATES

Stockton Thunder: Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks

Utah Grizzlies: Calgary Flames

TONIGHT’S GIVEAWAY/PROMOTION

Friday, February 4 vs. Utah Grizzlies, 7:30 p.m.
TYSON SEXSMITH POSTER GIVEAWAY -presented by In-Shape Health Clubs, Syngenta
SAN JOSE SHARKS JERSEY NIGHT

NEXT HOME GAME

Saturday, February 5 vs. Utah Grizzlies, 7:30 p.m.
SAN JOSE SHARKS JERSEY NIGHT
SKATEBOARD DECK GIVEAWAY presented by Pepsi, 97.7/98.3KWIN
MASCOT NIGHT

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP

Preparing for a quick return for the weekend at home, the Thunder faces the Utah Grizzlies for the sixth and seventh meetings of this season on Friday and Saturday at Stockton Arena. The Thunder is 16-17-3, lifetime against Utah and 4-1-0 in the head-to-head series. The last meeting between both teams was on Jan. 17, when Stockton defeated Utah, 6-3 at Maverik Center to complete a three-game road sweep. The Thunder is currently 10-6-4 at home this season. Both teams have combined for over 300 minutes in penalties during the series.

THUNDER GONE TEAL

Saluting the growing co-affiliation with the San Jose Sharks, the Thunder will wear teal home jerseys of the Sharks, just like the ones donned at HP Pavilion at San Jose, for this weekend’s games against Utah. The Thunder will host a live “Jersey Off Our Back” auction immediately following Saturday’s game, where all fans are invited to bid on each game-worn jersey by the Thunder players, which will be facilitated on the ice of Stockton Arena. The two clubs signed an affiliation agreement on Aug. 2, 2010. As hockey neighbors 80 miles apart, both clubs also share similar honors in sports and entertainment. The Thunder is a two-time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” and San Jose finished as the 12th best overall franchise in ESPN’s “Ultimate Standings” last year. Both teams advanced to their league’s Conference Finals last year.

LAST THREE GAMES:

LV 6 – STK 2 (2/1/11): Ryan Huddy and Blake Gallagher each scored a pair of goals to help the Las Vegas Wranglers defeat the Thunder, 6-2, before an announced crowd of 2,298 at Orleans Arena on Tuesday night. The Thunder, who surrendered the first four goals of the game in the opening 15 minutes of play, fell to 2-14-1 lifetime at Orleans Arena and picked up a goal each from Jordan Bendfeld (his first in the regular season since 2008-09) and Jim McKenzie. Joe Fallon earned his third win in the head-to-head series, stopping 39 shots.

STK 5 – IDH 4 (SO) (1/30/11): Goaltender Tyson Sexsmith made 31 stops, including a seventh round stop on Aki Seitsonen to preserve a come-from-behind victory for the Thunder, 5-4 in a shootout, over the Idaho Steelheads before 6,082 fans at Stockton Arena on Sunday. The Thunder, who became the first team to hand Idaho a defeat when leading after two periods, were helped out with goals from Fraser Clair, Garet Hunt, Jordan Fulton and a game-tying goal in the third period from Jarrett Konkle. Mark Derlago led Idaho’s offense with one goal and one assist.

IDH 4 – STK 1 (1/29/11): Tyler Beskorowany made 35 saves, including the first 27 he saw through the first two periods to help the Idaho Steelheads defeat the Thunder, 4-1, before 8,923 fans at Stockton Arena on Saturday night. Idaho, who jumped to two points ahead to third in the Western Conference, despite playing six more than the Thunder, were helped out by Evan Barlow’s two-goal effort. Jesse Gimblett scored the only Thunder goal, breaking Beskorowany’s shutout bid with 9:58 left in the game. Stockton took its first loss in regulation since Jan. 7 and in the head-to-head series this season, falling to 3-1-3.

SEASON SERIES (Thunder is 4-1-0)

Fri. Nov. 26 Utah 3 at Stockton 2
Sat. Dec. 11 Utah 2 at Stockton 3
Fri. Jan. 14 Stockton 4 at Utah 2
Sat. Jan. 15 Stockton 4 at Utah 1
Mon. Jan. 17 Stockton 6 at Utah 3
Fri. Feb. 4 Utah 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 5 Utah 7:30 p.m.

Wed. Mar. 9 at Utah 6:05 p.m.
Fri. Mar. 11 at Utah 6:05 p.m.
Sat. Mar. 12 at Utah 6:05 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 13 at Utah 3:05 p.m.

UPCOMING MILESTONES:

Ryan Constant is 8 games away from 300 in his professional career
Jim McKenzie is 5 games away from 200 in his professional career

HAIL TO THE CHIEF

Thunder head coach Matt Thomas is the third winningest coach in the last decade in the ECHL (among active coaches), entering the year with a lifetime .606 win percentage (234-143-54 record) in six seasons as a head coach for Stockton, Fresno and Atlantic City. Thomas also has never missed the playoffs, won a Kelly Cup championship in 2002-03 as an assistant coach with Atlantic City, has been named coach for the ECHL All-Star Game twice (2005, 2009) and has been behind the bench in a coaching role for teams that advanced to the Conference Finals three times.

ALL-TIME WINS, REGULAR SEASON (2000-2010)

COACH WINS

1. Jeff Pyle (Gwinnett, Mobile) * 363
2. Malcolm Cameron (four teams) * 314
3. Davis Payne (Alaska, Pee-Dee) 289
4.Matt Thomas (Stockton, Fre, A.C.) * 255
5. Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas) 254
* Currently ECHL active

HAPPY NEW YEAR

TThe Thunder capped the month of January with a record of 10-5-1, ending the first month of the new year in second place in the Pacific Division. In total, the Thunder had two weekend, three-game series sweeps (Utah and Ontario) and won eight consecutive games, their longest win streak of the season (Jan. 8-23).Stockton scored 51 goals, averaging 3.2 per game. Goaltender Bryan Pitton ran a record of 7-2-1 during the month, returning from Oklahoma City of the AHL.

CROWDING OUT THE ECHL

A whopping crowd of 9,482 piled into Stockton Arena on Jan. 22 for the “Teddy Bear Toss” game, the largest crowd at Stockton Arena this season and the fourth crowd over 9,000 in the event’s history. It helped keep the Thunder in the lead for ECHL attendance, attracting an average of 6,263 fans per game, through 20 home games. The Thunder led the ECHL in attendance last year with an average of 6,218 fans through 36 home games. Stockton has 15 sellouts in the team’s franchise history and in 2008-09, the Thunder became the first team since 2004-05 to lead the ECHL in attendance for four straight seasons (Florida led the ECHL in attendance for five straight seasons – 2000-05).

THUNDER ANSWERS ROAD RULES CHALLENGE

The Thunder owned a 6-0-2 streak on the road to begin the season, finishing as the last remaining team in the ECHL yet to lose a game in regulation on the road. Additionally, the streak to start the season broke the mark of five straight games without a loss in regulation (5-0-0), set back in 2006-07 (Mar. 17-31). Currently, the Thunder have won five straight games on the road, a season high, ending Feb. 1 at Las Vegas.

CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER

The Thunder enters the game with 71major penalties, leading the ECHL. Additionally, their average of 22.5 penalty minutes ranks third in the ECHL, eclipsed only by Bakersfield’s average of 23.4 and Utah’s average of 23.8 per game. Individually, the Thunder is led by Garet Hunt, who has 105 penalty minutes. Six players on the Thunder have registered 60 penalty minutes or more this season.

LIKE THUNDER, THE OFFENSE ROLLS

The Thunder have posted a combined 45 goals in their last 10 games, also tying a season-high with seven goals in a Jan. 21, 7-2 win vs. Ontario. Currently, the Thunder ranks 7th in the ECHL with 3.2 goals per game.

ON THE MARK

Returning for his first home game since an AHL recall, Mark Arcobello became the first player in Thunder history to collect a hat trick and pick up the Most Valuable Player award in the ECHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, in a 9-3 win for the ECHL All-Star team over the host Bakersfield Condors. Arcobello scored on three of the first five goals for the All-Stars, and represented the Thunder at the game along with trainer Kevin Anderson. Arcobello’s feat made him the eighth player in ECHL All-Star Game history to pick up a hat trick in the game. Currently, he has seven points in the last seven games.

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