PREVIEW: Thunder-Alaska

Friday, 03.02.12 / 12:00 AM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

VIDEO: (COMING SOON) Morning skate interview from the Thunder locker room
AUDIO: Mike Benton’s KWSX Thunder Update podcast
TICKETS: Click Here

GAME: Stockton Thunder vs. Alaska Aces
DATE: Friday, March 2, 2012
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
SITE: Stockton Arena
RADIO: 1280 AM KWSX/ (AmericaOne)
/92.5 FM (live in house feed)


Stockton Thunder: Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks
Alaska Aces: St. Louis Blues


Tonight’s Promotions:
MATT FOY POSTER GIVEAWAY (presented by In-Shape Health Clubs)
National Anthem Singer: Nancy Martin
Public Address Announcer: John Taylor
In-Arena Emcee: DJ Walker
Postgame autographs: Matt Reber, Matt Foy


Saturday, March 3 vs. Alaska Aces, 7:30 p.m.
ADULT GOLD REPLICA JERSEY GIVEAWAY (presented by Jackson Rancheria, Financial Center Credit Union, 97.7/98.3 KWIN and Ray Morgan Company)


Coming off a 4-1-1 record at home in February, the Thunder hosts the defending Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces for a three game series starting tonight at Stockton Arena. The Thunder is 24-24-14 all time against the Aces and tonight’s game marks the eighth game of ten this season between the teams. In the last meeting, the Thunder defeated Alaska 2-1 at Stockton Arena on Jan. 29. The series will feature two of the league’s top three goal scorers in the last five years – Kevin Baker (Stockton) and Wes Goldie (Alaska). Stockton has a magic number of 12 to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth.


Wed. Nov. 23 Alaska 4 at Stockton 1
Thur. Jan. 12 Stockton 0 at Alaska 3
Fri. Jan. 13 Stockton 1 at Alaska 3
Sat. Jan. 14 Stockton 2 at Alaska 4
Fri. Jan. 27 Alaska 3 at Stockton 6
Sat. Jan. 28 Alaska 1 at Stockton 4
Sun. Jan. 29 Alaska 1 at Stockton 2
Fri. Mar. 2 Alaska 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Mar.3 Alaska 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 4 Alaska 4:00 p.m.


STK 2 – AK 1 (1/29/12): Goaltender Alex Stalock made a season high 38 saves and Jordan Fulton broke a 1-1 tie on a game winning goal with 16:07 remaining in regulation to lift the Stockton Thunder (21-18-4, 46 points) to a 2-1 victory over the Alaska Aces at Stockton Arena. The win, which helped the Thunder improve to 6-1-1 at home since Dec. 30 and become the first team to hand the Aces a three game sweep this season, gave Stalock a 4-0-0 record since his return from injury. Milan Kytnar scored the first goal of the game and the Thunder captured sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference.


BAK 5 – STK 2 (2/26/12): Ian McKenzie scored a goal and added an assist to lead another four unanswered goal rally by the Bakersfield Condors, who sent the Stockton Thunder (27-23-5, 59 points) to a 5-2 defeat before a crowd of 6,323 at Stockton Arena on Sunday. Bakersfield, entering the game with the worst record in the ECHL, authored its victory in the same fashion as Saturday night with four goals after the Thunder assumed a 1-0 lead in the first period. Stockton benefited from goals by Chris Doyle and Jordan Fulton and fell to 7-4-0 in the head to head series against its Pacific Division rival.

BAK 4 – STK 1 (2/25/12): Parker Stanfield scored one goal and added an assist, helping build a rally of four unanswered goals by the Bakersfield Condors, who sent the Stockton Thunder (27-22-5, 59 points) to a 4-1 defeat before 6,092 fans at Rabobank Arena on Saturday. The Thunder, who absorbed only their third loss in ten games this season to the Condors and saw a four game winning streak snapped, earned its only goal on a first period power play marker by Matt Reber. Bakersfield goaltender Bryan Pitton earned his first win since Jan. 20 with 27 saves in net.

STK 4 – BAK 3 (SO) (2/24/12): Goaltender Thomas Heemskerk made 34 saves and Kevin Baker scored a goal in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the Stockton Thunder (27-21-5, 59 points) to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Bakersfield Condors before 5,926 fans at Rabobank Arena on Friday. Aiding from an offensive effort that included goal scoring contributions from Matt Foy, Colten Hayes and Ian O’Connor, the Thunder moved back to four points behind Colorado for fourth place in the Western Conference and reduced its magic number to 12 to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth.


Matt Thomas is 2 wins away from 300 in his professional coaching career
Kevin Baker is 16 goals away from 200 in his professional career
Jody Pederson is 5 games away from 100 in his professional career
Jordan Fulton is 5 games away from 100 in his Thunder career
Chris D’Alvise is 10 points away from 100 in his Thunder career


The Thunder has parlayed a record of 9-2-1 in the last 12 home games. Taking advantage of leads early and in the middle of the game, the Thunder has never lost when holding a lead after the first period (9-0-0) and second period (10-0-0). The Thunder has also outshot their opponents in 19 of 26 home games.


An exclusive club, the Thunder averaged over 6,000 fans per game and drew over 200,000 fans for the sixth straight year in 2010-11, ranking second in ECHL in attendance with 6,382 fans per game. Stockton has 17 sellouts in the team’s franchise history. They welcomed 12 crowds of 7,000 or more at Stockton Arena last season and had its highest attendance since 2007-08, a six percent increase from 2009-10. This season, the Thunder has welcome 13 crowds of 6,000 or more to Stockton Arena and drew a season high 9,012 fans on Nov. 5 vs. Utah. The Thunder is third in ECHL attendance with an average of 5,746 fans per game.


Thunder right winger Kevin Baker was signed as a free agent on Aug. 24 and brings a wealth of offensive accomplishments to the Thunder roster. He was named ECHL Most Valuable Player in 2008-09 and his 57 goals that season were most in the league since 2000-01. He ranks third in ECHL all-time goal scoring (since 2006-07) with 172 goals. On Dec. 10 vs. Bakersfield, he collected his first hat trick of the season.


Thunder head coach Matt Thomas needs just two wins to become the eighth coach in ECHL history to reach the 300 win plateau in his career. Thomas is currently in his fourth season as Thunder head coach and has never missed the playoffs since earning his first position with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2004-05. His 119 wins stand as the all time leader in Thunder career coaching wins.


Continuing tonight, the Thunder will be making their “pregame worn” warm up jerseys available for bidding through silent auction, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Stockton Thunder foundation. The jerseys, sponsored by Osborn Concrete, were created by Reebok Hockey, the official jersey supplier of all National Hockey League teams. Featuring a unique “silver and black” look, the jersey displays a black base with a white stripe along the shoulders and a white and silver accented Thor logo crest. Black numbers adorn the back of each jersey in a silver trim with white lettering at the top.

Below is tonight’s auction lineup:

• Matt Foy (RW)
• Matt Reber (RW)
• Ryan Martindale (C)
• Max Campbell (C)