RECAP (Game 2): Chris Control
D’Alvise, Thunder repeat overtime heroics to level Conference Semifinals, 1-1
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Chris D’Alvise
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Chris D’Alvisescored off the rush with 10:41 left in sudden death overtime to cap a heroic comeback by the Stockton Thunder in a 3-2 victory over the Alaska Aces in game two of the Western Conference Semifinal before 5,561 fans at Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
The Thunder tied the best of seven series, 1-1 and swiped home ice advantage with the next three games scheduled at Stockton Arena. D’Alvise’s overtime goal was his second of the postseason and the Thunder won their sixth consecutive playoff game in overtime.
“Tonight was very satisfying for us,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “Being on the road we knew we needed to win one game to have a chance in the series. That put a lot of pressure on us and I’m proud for how the guys handled it. We got a couple of power play opportunities (in overtime) and we were finally able to cash in.”
Max Campbell and Kevin Baker rallied Stockton out of a 2-0 deficit with back to back goals in the second period.
STOCKTON VS. ALASKA – WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (all times listed PT)
(Series tied, 1-1)
Game 1: Stockton 1 at Alaska 2
Game 2: Stockton 3 at Alaska 2 (OT)
Game 3: Alaska at Stockton – Wednesday, April 18 – 7:00 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 4: Alaska at Stockton – Friday, April 20 – 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 5: Alaska at Stockton – Saturday, April 21 – 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 6: Stockton at Alaska – Tuesday, April 24 – 8:15 p.m. (Sullivan Arena) *
Game 7: Stockton at Alaska – Wednesday, April 25 – 8:15 p.m. (Sullivan Arena) *
After a scoreless tie played out in the first period, both teams opened the floodgates for four goals in the second period and a 2-2 tie. Alaska roared with a pair of goals in 51 seconds beginning with a Brandon Gentile rebound with 9:14 elapsed and Nick Mazzolini followed with a wrist shot from the right point that snuck through traffic and beat Olivier Roy over the left shoulder.
Gerald Coleman, who took the loss in the game with 26 stops, also kept the Thunder at bay on a pair of threatening chances. He stopped Jordan Fulton on two breakaways in the same shift – one with a partial open net – and then turned away Jason Morgan’s wrist shot after being left wide open in the slot.
The Thunder responded in resilient fashion with two goals in a span of 2:13 to knot the score. Campbell’s fifth of the playoffs at 13:07 came on a wrist shot from the right circle that snuck through Coleman’s five hole.
Baker followed with his first goal of the postseason, cashing in on a broken play when he took D’Alvise’s missed wrist shot and buried the follow up attempt at the left circle.
The Thunder threatened to snag their first lead on a breakaway attempt by Campbell, but his wrist shot was turned away by Coleman’s left pad at the buzzer.
Alaska outshot the Thunder, 15-6 in the final period as both teams continued to trade scoring chances. Overtime began with a Thunder power play after Ryan Cruthers was whistled for cross checking at 4:34, but Alaska killed off the attempt.
Tyson Marsh then buried Jesse Fratkin on a hit to the backboards with 11:38 left in overtime, resulting in a boarding penalty after Fratkin was slow to get up from the hit.
D’Alvise then took over for the game winning goal. Mike Little began the play with an outlet pass that hit Campbell in stride, and the puck was relayed to D’Alvise who raced into the Alaska zone at top speed.
D’Alvise muscled a snap shot under the crossbar from the left circle, leaving Sullivan Arena in stunned silence as the Thunder jumped the bench in celebration.
“Elite athletes want to be in the spotlight and D’Alvise is no different,” said Thomas. “It was an opportunity where he knew he needed to step up. His line had an average game in game one and I challenged their line (D’Alvise, Baker and Campbell) – all three guys chipped in with a goal. It was good to see D’Alvise be ‘the guy’.”
D’Alvise, Campbell and Baker combined for five points (3g-2a) in the victory, who helped hand Alaska their first postseason loss at home since 2010 (against the Thunder), breaking a seven game win streak. It was also Alaska’s first loss in the playoffs at Sullivan Arena since game seven of the 2009 Kelly Cup Final.
NOTES: Scratched for the game were Sebastian Owuya (healthy), Matt Foy (reserve) and Brock Matheson (reserve) … the Thunder improved to 4-2 lifetime against Alaska in the playoffs … Stockton improved to 6-4 in game two situations … Alaska finished with the lead in shots on goal, 40-29 … the Thunder power play went 1-of-4 in the game … two of D’Alvise’s three goals in the playoffs have come on game winners in overtime.
Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal is Wednesday at Stockton Arena, where the Thunder host the Alaska Aces at 7:00 p.m. Exclusive online coverage is available 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/.
1. STK – 10 Chris D’Alvise
2. STK – 71 Kevin Baker
3. AK – 14 Jordan Kremyr