RECAP: Deep Six
Early period goals help Thunder pulverize Bakersfield in 6-1 win on Friday
By Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer
STOCKTON, Calif. – Justin Maylan
By Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer
STOCKTON, Calif. – Justin Maylanput forth a two-goal effort as the Stockton Thunder (5-1-1, 11 points) took care of the Bakersfield Condors (3-5-1, 7 points) in a 6-1 victory to open Thunder Goes Pink VII in front of 5,717 fans on Friday at Stockton Arena.
“It’s nice to play a game in which you win comfortably,” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said. “Tonight, it was about winning the first period then worrying about every period after that. There’s a lot of hockey to be played this weekend. If we want to do what we want to do, we can’t look ahead or hope for something in these three games.”
The Thunder appeased the festive crowd by getting on the board early in the first period. Defenseman Shawn Boutin’s dump-in fell right to Bakersfield goaltender Scott Greenham, but the puck bounced off his stick and right to Maylan.
Maylan took advantage, firing home a backhanded shot past Greenham to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead just 1:13 into the game.
Minutes into the second period, Maylan passed the puck from behind the Bakersfield net to Thunder captain Garet Hunt in front of goal. The charging Hunt squeezed it by Greenham for his first goal of the season, which increased the Thunder lead to 2-0 at 1:41 into the second period.
Midway through the second period, the Thunder found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-on-3. Seconds into the penalty, Olivier Malka blasted a slap shot by Thunder goaltender Cody Reichard to cut the lead to 2-1, 10:35 into the period.
The Thunder would respond with just 1:15 left in the period. Forward Toni Rajala’s lacrosse-style attempt from behind the net deflected right to forward Philippe Cornet, who flipped the puck to the top of the net for a 3-1 Thunder lead.
Starting on the power play in the third period, Rajala controlled the puck off the opening faceoff. He then carried the puck around two Bakersfield defenders, firing a shot past Greenham from the left circle just five seconds into the period.
The Thunder would make it 5-1 later on in the period. Center Eric Hunter found forward Gabriel Levesque through the middle. Levesque’s backhand pass set up Maylan, who converted the opportunity for his second goal of the game with 9:31 left in the contest.
Maylan would later be tossed for a fighting major, completing his Gordie Howe hat trick on the night.
With 3:39 left in the game, Thunder newcomer Kristians Pelss earned his first ECHL goal for a 6-1 Thunder advantage after catching a piece of Yannick Riendeau’s shot.
“I think it starts with the leadership group,” Maylan said afterwards, “[Thomas] gets us going. It starts with that first goal in each period. It’s been really good. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
For the Thunder, Reichard finished with 19 saves to improve to 2-0-0 in two games this season. Bakersfield’s Greenham dropped to 2-2-1. Stockton’s home record climbs to 2-1-0 with the win.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Mike Little, Cameron Brodie, Jesse Fratkin, Evan Vossen and Matt Bergland … Rajala’s third period goal broke a Thunder record for fastest goal to begin a period … with a five-minute major for fighting at 16:15 in the third period, Garet Hunt became the first player in Thunder history to record 1,000 penalty minutes …..Hunt now stands at 1,002 career penalty minutes with the Thunder….the Thunder went 2-of-9 on the power play….both teams combined to record 13 penalties for 26 minutes in the second period.
The Thunder hosts the Alaska Aces for the first time tomorrow, continuing Thunder Goes Pink VII at 7:30 p.m. (1280 KWSX/StocktonThunder.com) at Stockton Arena.
A two time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” the Thunder led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the seventh consecutive season in 2011-12. Season Tickets, Group Tickets and Mini-Plans 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 www.StocktonThunder.com.
1. STK – J. Maylan
2. STK – C. Reichard
3. STK – T. Rajala