RECAP: Dried Up Amidst Reign

Wednesday, 02.15.12 / 11:00 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

Thunder nearly rallies from 2-0 hole, has 6-0-1 streak at home end in loss

FINAL STATS: Box score
AUDIO: Game Highlights – Thunder Replay
VIDEO: Highlights and postgame reaction from the locker room

STOCKTON, Calif. – Goaltender Chris Carrozzi made 30 stops and his Ontario Reign never trailed, sending the Stockton Thunder (23-21-5, 51 points) to a 3-1 defeat at Stockton Arena on Wednesday.

The Thunder, who nearly rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period for the second consecutive game, fell to 5-4-2 in the head to head series against Ontario and received its only goal in the game from Ian O’Connor.

Olivier Roy kept the Thunder in the game with 29 saves and earned 3rd star honors. (photo by Sean Blair)

“We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in mid-February,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “We had some chances to score early. It’s a game of inches but you have to earn your inches. We didn’t do enough to earn them tonight. We had our opportunities and weren’t sharp enough. It’s got to change.”

Ontario owned the edge in shots, 17-9 after the first period and Thunder goaltender Olivier Roy made a key save on Kevin Estrada’s shorthanded re-direction late in the period.

Roy and Carrozzi carried the scoreless tie into the deep stages of the second period and the Thunder’s best chance was denied with 2:56 left, when a deflection at the Ontario net produced a loose puck for Matt Foy and Ryan Martindale, who were unable to reach the rebound.

With 1:10 left in the period, a missed point shot by Chris Huxley caromed sharply for Kevin Estrada, who snuck a backhander off the skate of Roy form the bottom of the right circle for a 1-0 Ontario lead.

Another Ontario goal pushed the lead to 2-0 when Tristan King finished off Geoff Irwin’s centering pass from the left boards just 1:27 into the third period.

The Thunder finally got on the board, trailing 2-1 with O’Connor’s 14th goal of the season with 10:49 left in regulation. O’Connor skated to the front of the net and deflected Cameron Brodie’s right point shot past Carrozzi.

Ontario nearly regained a two goal lead after a missed chance off the post on a shorthanded breakaway and the Thunder responded by earning a crucial 5-on-3 man advantage shortly after, when Chris Huxley was penalized for slashing.

Colten Hayes put in a bid to tie the game when he cradled Kevin Baker’s drop pass at the right wing, and blasted a shot off the post. The rebound skittered back to Hayes, whose second chance shot was stopped by Carrozzi.

Ontario killed off the entire penalty kill sequence and capitalized when the Thunder pulled Roy for an extra attacker. After clearing the puck to center ice, Chris Cloud tracked the loose puck in the Thunder zone and found an open Mike McKenzie for an empty net goal with 59 seconds left in regulation.

Roy was tagged with the loss despite making 29 saves.

NOTES: Scratched for the game were Brock Matheson (injured reserve), Sebastian Owuya (injured reserve), Gabriel Levesque (injured reserve), Jason Morgan (injured reserve) and Jesse Fratkin (healthy) … the Thunder had its 6-0-1 streak at home snapped in the loss, its first in regulation at Stockton Arena since Jan. 20 … Ontario earned the edge in shots, 32-31.

The Thunder returns home for their next game on Friday, hosting the Idaho Steelheads at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena. The game will be carried on radio at 1280 AM KWSX and online for viewing (pay-per-view video charge) and listening (free of charge) at www.StocktonThunder.com, courtesy of AmericaOne.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” Thunder was voted “Best Local Sports Team” by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the sixth consecutive season in 2010-11. Season Tickets for 2011-12 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit http://www.stocktonthunder.com/.

THREE STARS
1. ONT – 1 Chris Carrozzi
2. STK – 27 Colten Hayes
3. STK – 31 Olivier Roy

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