PREVIEW: Taking Charge

Friday, 11.09.12 / 12:00 AM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

GAME: Stockton Thunder at San Francisco Bulls
DATE: Friday, November 9, 2012
TIME: 7:15 p.m.
SITE: Cow Palace
RADIO: 1280 AM KWSX/StocktonThunder.com (AmericaOne)/iHeartRadio
WATCH PARTY: Fat’s Grill

VIDEO: Matt Reber morning skate interview from Stockton Arena

NHL AFFILIATES

Stockton Thunder: Edmonton Oilers
San Francisco Bulls: San Jose Sharks

NEXT HOME GAME

Friday, Nov. 16 vs. Utah Grizzlies, 7:30 p.m.

TODAY’S MATCHUP

The Stockton Thunder returns to play against the San Francisco Bulls, an expansion team to the ECHL’s Pacific Division. Tonight’s game will be the first of 13 meetings between the two teams this season. The Thunder enters the game with a six game winning streak and is off to its best start since the 2006-07 season. They also began this week sitting in first place in the Western Conference, tied for the best record in the ECHL and owning the second best win percentage in the league (.833). The Bulls, who play at the 71-year old Cow Palace, are an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.

2012-2013 Head to Head Schedule:

Fri. Nov. 9 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 24 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Thur. Dec. 13 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Wed. Jan. 16 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Fri. Jan. 18 San Francisco 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 19 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 20 San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Wed. Jan. 30 San Francisco 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 16 San Francisco 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 17 at San Francisco 2:15 p.m.
Wed. Mar. 13 San Francisco 7:00 p.m.
Fri. Mar. 22 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.
Sat. Mar. 23 at San Francisco 7:15 p.m.

LAST THREE GAMES:

STK 5 – AK 1 (11/4/12): The Stockton Thunder (7-1-1, 15 points) enjoyed goal scoring from five different players and ended Thunder Goes Pink VII victorious in a 5-1 rout over the Alaska Aces (5-4-0, 10 points) in front of 4,194 fans on Sunday at Stockton Arena. The win completes a three-game weekend sweep, as well as back to back wins over the Aces. In victory, Thunder goaltender Tyler Bunz (5-1-1) made 31 saves on 32 shots. Center Harrison Reed collected three points (1 goal, 2 assists) to lead the Thunder offense.

STK 7 – AK 4 (11/3/12): Philippe Cornet had a four point night while Toni Rajala posted two goals and an assist to lead the Stockton Thunder (6-1-1, 13 points) offense in a 7-4 blowout win over the Alaska Aces before a crowd of 8,018 at Stockton Arena on Saturday. Goaltender Tyler Bunz earned the win in net with 28 saves while all but five Thunder skaters registered a point in the game.

STK 6 – BAK 1 (11/2/12): Justin Maylan put 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. The Thunder claimed its fifth win in the last six games and was also aided by Cody Reichard’s 19 saves in net.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

• Ryan Constant is 11 games away from 300 in his ECHL career
• Ryan Constant is 10 assists away from 100 in his professional career
• Harrison Reed is 7 games away from 300 in his professional career
• Yannick Riendeau is 2 points away from 100 in his ECHL career

BOLTING OUT OF THE GATE

The Thunder’s 7-1-1 record is its best since the 2006-07 season, when the Thunder and Edmonton Oilers were in the first season of their affiliation agreement. A win tonight will give the Thunder its best start in team history through ten games, surpassing the 2006-07 season (7-1-2 record).

THUNDER CROWDS ROLL IN

The Thunder has drawn over 200,000 fans for seven straight seasons to Stockton Arena, totaling over 1.5 million through the turnstiles since opening in 2005-06. There have been 17 sellouts at Stockton Arena in Thunder history and last season, there were seven crowds of 7,000 or more at Thunder home games. The Thunder drew a club record 244,085 fans to Stockton Arena in 2006-07. Last season, the Thunder ranked third in ECHL attendance.

(NO) GOAL ORIENTED

The Thunder enters today ranking second in fewest goals allowed per game (2.2) in the ECHL. In addition, the Thunder defense has allowed just 25.5 shots per game, ranking fourth fewest in the entire league. Only twice has a team surpassed 30 shots on goal on the Thunder defense this season, which allowed a season low 17 shots to the Ontario Reign in a 4-0 victory on Oct. 13.

FILLING THE NET

After exploding for 18 goals in three games last weekend against Alaska and Bakersfield, the Thunder offense enters tonight’s game ranking third at 4.1 goals per game this season. They buried a season high seven goals on Saturday, Nov. 3 in a 7-4 victory over the Alaska Aces at Stockton Arena.

NEARLY A TONI AWARD WINNER

Thunder rookie forward Toni Rajala was named runner up for Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week on Tuesday, narrowly finishing behind Michael Forney of Colorado. Rajala earned seven points and was +3 in three games to help the Thunder go 3-0-0 against Alaska and Bakersfield. Rajala is on a six game scoring streak, posting 11 points in that span.

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