RECAP: Drawing A Blank
Alaska takes series lead, 2-1 on Coleman’s 22 save shutout
STOCKTON, Calif. –
STOCKTON, Calif. –Gerald Coleman made 22 saves for his fourth career postseason shutout, helping the Alaska Aces send the Stockton Thunder to a 4-0 defeat in game three of the Western Conference Semifinal at Stockton Arena on Wednesday.
The Thunder found difficulty getting through to Coleman in the final two periods and were outshot for the game, 40-22. Their most pressure came on 13 shots in the opening period. They now trail Alaska, 2-1 in the best of seven series and must win on Friday to avoid facing elimination.
“We certainly didn’t play up to our potential or our standard,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “We played frustrated. We spent a lot of time worrying about non-calls than we did about creating offense for ourselves. I’m glad that we didn’t let frustration get the better of us until the game was out of reach, but we got outplayed on the first shift and that’s not a good sign for a game, especially in your own building.”
The game was played closely, early on with Alaska clinging to just a 1-0 lead through two periods before breaking out with three goals in the final 20 minutes.
STOCKTON VS. ALASKA – WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (all times listed PT)
(Alaska leads, 2-1)
Game 1: Stockton 1 at Alaska 2
Game 2: Stockton 3 at Alaska 2 (OT)
Game 3: Alaska 4 at Stockton 0
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) *
Ryan Cruthers’ power play goal lifted Alaska to a 1-0 edge with 8:13 to play in the first period when he took a deflected shot at the bottom of the left circle. With Olivier Roy scrambling to cover the blocker side post, Cruthers chipped a shot on net that caught a piece of Roy and trickled in.
Coleman kept the Thunder off the board in the first period with 13 saves and his marquee stop came on a Garet Hunt redirection from Jason Morgan, set up from the right corner.
Alaska grabbed the lead in shots in the second period, 15-4 but the Thunder hung onto a 1-0 deficit through 40 minutes. Coleman robbed Chris D’Alvise on a deke from the base of the right circle and Roy’s biggest stop in the period came on a two on one break, sliding over to the right post to make a pad save on Dan Kissel’s one timer.
Wes Goldie – the ECHL’s all time leading goal scorer and contained in the first two games without a goal by the Thunder – broke through for his first of the postseason just 1:06 into the third period. Tyson Marsh cleared the Alaska zone with a chip off the glass, which sailed to center ice as Goldie waited for the attempt.
Using the Thunder defense as a screen, Goldie fired a snap shot that beat Roy to the blocker side, putting Alaska up by a pair of goals.
On the next shift, Mazzolini cashed in with a deflection to extend Alaska to a 3-0 lead. Bryan Miller corralled a pass at the right point and his shot caromed off Mazzolini, changing directions before slipping through Roy’s five hole.
Jordan Kremyr put on the finishing touches with his first goal of the season at 14:42 for a 4-0 advantage.
“Nothing changes for Friday,” said Thomas. “We’re a good team – we just didn’t play up to our potential. What changes is that we play to our potential.”
Roy took his second loss of the postseason with 36 saves, two off his postseason career high (set in game two).
NOTES: Scratched for the game were Sebastian Owuya (healthy), Greg Squires (healthy) and Brock Matheson (reserve) … the Thunder fell to 6-4 at home in the last ten postseason games … Stockton has not trailed 3-1 in the playoffs since the 2008 first round series against Las Vegas … Alaska went 1-of-6 on the power play … the Thunder were handed 36 minutes in penalties, compared to eight for Alaska.
Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinal is Friday at Stockton Arena, where the Thunder host the Alaska Aces at 7:30 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. AK – 39 Gerald Coleman
2. AK – 42 Nick Mazzolini
3. AK – 9 Garry Nunn