RECAP: Bear Down
Record tying offense lifts Thunder to 7-1-0 run in eight games
FINAL STATS: Box score
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah –
AUDIO: Game Highlights – Thunder Replay
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah –Forwards Toni Rajala and Philippe Cornet combined for seven points and the Stockton Thunder (8-2-1, 17 points) tied a club record for most goals in a game, pummeling the Utah Grizzlies in a 9-6 victory before 5,659 fans at Maverik Center on Monday.
The Thunder buried five goals in the second period and tied the single game record for most goals, set originally on Dec. 10, 2011 against Bakersfield. Six Thunder players registered multi point games while the power play capitalized on a 3-for-6 effort in the game.
“For such a sloppy game and with how it went, I thought we answered the bell,” said Thunder center Eric Hunter. “We scored when we needed a goal and at the end of the day it’s two big points.”
Stockton improved to 7-1-0 in the last eight games, moving to within one point of the top record in the Western Conference. Rookie goaltender Tyler Bunz made 38 saves to earn the victory.
Nathan Deck opened the scoring at 8:40 of the first period with a wrist shot from the high slot for his second goal of the year. Utah’s Riley Armstrong then responded just 1:12 later when he drove the net from the left wing and chipped the puck over Bunz’s poke check for a 1-1 tie.
The Thunder restored the lead on Kristians Pelss’ second goal of the season with six minutes remaining on his snap shot from the right circle, and Cornet padded the lead to 3-1 with 4.9 seconds left in the period with a rebound power play goal at the left post. Cornet followed up after Rajala was stopped on a slapshot from between the circles.
Matt Reber fed Phil Mangan with a rocket-like centering pass from the left corner to boost the Thunder lead to 4-1 at the 3:11 mark of the second period, but Utah rallied with back to back goals on two man advantage situations.
Armstrong’s one-timer at the left point cut the deficit to 4-2 at the 5:22 mark. Ryan Howse then re-directed a feed to Ryan Watson for a tap in goal at the crease with 12:22 left.
Rajala helped the Thunder storm back with his seventh goal of the season at 8:33 when he blasted a one timer past Ryan Donovan, completing Yannick Riendeau’s feed to the right circle. Hunter, previously knocked out of the game temporarily on a hit into the boards during the first period, returned and delivered a power play goal at 11:45 for a 6-3 cushion when he ripped a wrist shot past Donovan from the left circle.
Utah sliced the deficit to two goals on Nick Tuzzolino’s first goal of the season with 5:56 left in the second period, but the Thunder had another response just 42 seconds later when Cornet’s second goal of the game beat Donovan from the mid slot for a 7-4 advantage.
Rajala then connected with Reber (fifth goal) on a pass to the goal mouth from the left corner with 1:38 left in the period, giving Stockton its biggest lead of the game at 8-4.
Utah posted one last rally attempt on Bryan Cameron’s breakaway goal at 5:59 of the third period and Drew MacKenzie’s third goal of the season with 4:05 left, but Justin Maylan put on the finishing touches when he converted on a rush up the ice with a wrist shot from the left circle with 2:58 left in the game.
Donovan took the loss for Utah with 20 saves. The Thunder sent the Grizzlies to their fifth consecutive loss.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Mike Little, Cameron Brodie, Jesse Fratkin, Matt Bergland, and Evan Vossen …. Rajala’s four points were a season high and he extended his scoring streak to eight consecutive games … the win gave the Thunder a .773 win percentage which leads the Western Conference … the Thunder has scored 40 goals in the last eight games … former Thunder defenseman Mark Adamek (2006-09) was in attendance at the game.
The Thunder wraps up the three game road trip on Wednesday against Idaho. The puck drops at 6:10 p.m. (1280 KWSX/StocktonThunder.com) at Century Link 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 – T. Rajala
2. UTA – B. Cameron
3. UTA – R. Howse