RECAP: Crowding Out the Condors

Saturday, 03.24.12 / 11:33 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

9,323 fans enjoy “Fan Appreciation” night victory, Roy’s 33 stops

FINAL STATS: Box score
AUDIO: Game Highlights – Thunder Replay
VIDEO: Highlights and postgame reaction from the dressing room STOCKTON, Calif. –
Goaltender Oliver Roy made 33 saves while a goal and an assist each from Jesse Fratkin and Jordan Fulton helped lead the Stockton Thunder (32-31-5, 69 points) to a 3-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors before a crowd of 9,323 on “Fan Appreciation” night at Stockton Arena on Saturday.

The Thunder, preparing for the Kelly Cup Playoffs by closing out the regular season home schedule with a record of 19-14-3 and drawing over 200,000 fans for the seventh straight season at Stockton Arena, moved to within three points of fourth place Colorado in the Western Conference. They were also aided on a game winning goal by Chris D’Alvise in the second period.

“We talked a lot about enjoying the opportunity of playing at this time of year,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “It’s meaningful hockey – every game, every play, everything means so much and it only gets more intense. You’ve got to enjoy it. If you stress about it, I don’t think you can play to the potential that you should be.”

Chris D'Alvise buried his 11th goal of the season in just 16 ECHL games. (photo by Sean Blair)

Kyle Calder collected a pair of goals to lead Bakersfield’s offense. The Thunder won the season series, 8-5-0 against Bakersfield.

Calder scored at 2:26 of the first period on a wraparound to put Bakersfield up 1-0 but the Thunder quickly responded at 7:37 when Fratkin earned his 10th goal of the season, converting a centering feed by Fulton from the left goal line.

Calder shot back and converted on a 3-on-1 break for Bakersfield just 2:02 later for a 2-1 Condors lead, but the Thunder provided another answer on Fulton’s 16th goal of the season. After Bakersfield goaltender Matt Keetley fumbled a rebound produced by Foy’s bid from the right circle, Fulton stashed the second chance at the right post.

With play settling down in the second period, the Thunder built a lead in the shots, 9-8 and also found opportunity to capitalize on a Bakersfield breakdown at center ice.

The Thunder did it by taking their first lead of the game with 5:48 left in the second period when D’Alvise’s 11th goal of the season came on a breakaway, set up by a feed from Sebastian Owuya from the Thunder blueline. D’Alvise successfully raced past the Condors defense and deked Matt Keetley to the glove side with a forehand shot.

The third period produced the only Thunder power play of the game after Alex Hudson was whistled for tripping, but Keetley kept the one goal gap intact and both teams battled down to the final minutes. Roy stopped a key 2-on-1 break by denying Evan Trupp’s wrist shot from the right circle.

Keetley was pulled for an extra attacker in the last minute of play, giving the Condors a 6-on-5 skating situation.

After securing low cycle in the offensive zone, Roy denied two close chances by Ryan Annesley and Parker Stanfield. One final shot from the right wing was stopped by Roy at the final horn, giving the Thunder the win.

Keetley took the loss with 19 saves.

NOTES: Scratched for the game were Tony DeHart (injured reserve), Cameron Brodie (injured reserve), Nathan Deck (injured reserve), Kevin Baker (injured, day to day), Cameron Abney (one game suspension) and Brock Matheson (healthy) … ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna was in attendance … Bakersfield owned the shots on goal count at 35-22 … the Thunder announced their annual season awards following the game: Unsung Hero (Nathan Deck), Defenseman of the Year (Mike Little), Offensive Player of the Year (Kevin Baker), Rookie of the Year (Olivier Roy), Fan Favorite (Garet Hunt) and Most Valuable Player (Baker).

The Thunder returns to the road for its next game on Wednesday, Mar. 28 at Century Link Arena against the host Idaho Steelheads at 6:10 p.m. 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 2012-13 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. STK – 18 Jordan Fulton
2. STK – 13 Jesse Fratkin
3. STK – 10 Chris D’Alvise

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