RECAP: Struck at Home

Wednesday, 11.28.12 / 10:37 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

Home winning streak comes to an end – Thunder blitzed by Aces, 6-2

FINAL STATS: Box score
VIDEO: Highlights and postgame comments – Matt Thomas
AUDIO: Game Highlights – Thunder Replay

By Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer

STOCKTON, Calif. –The Stockton Thunder (11-5-1, 23 points) saw their seven-game home winning streak ended in front of 3,316 fans at Stockton Arena, falling to the Alaska Aces 6-2 on Wednesday.

“It was clear from the get go that we weren’t really dialed in,” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said. “We weren’t focused. I can take some of the blame, because it’s my job to make sure that the team’s ready to go.”

Defenseman Ryan Constant led the Thunder with a goal and assist, while Tyler Bunz (8-4-1) recorded 27 saves. The loss marks the first losing streak the Thunder have had all season and it was their first on home ice since Oct. 12.

“I thought Tyler Bunz played a heck of a game,” said Thomas. “A couple of those goals late in the game he would want back for sure, but one of them was on a breakaway, an odd-man rush. What do you expect the guy to do, perform miracles? The way we played, that’s what we needed.”

Ryan Constant had a goal and an assist, producing on both Thunder scoring plays on the night. (photo by Asvitt Photogrpahy)

Alaska struck just 15 seconds after the opening face-off when Joey Crabb hit Nate Thompson with an outlet pass into the Thunder zone, followed by Thompson’s wrist shot that beat Bunz from the left circle for a 1-0 lead.

Alexandre Imbeault then deflected Chris Haltigin’s point shot past Bunz at the 9:14 mark to boost Alaska’s edge to 2-0.

Less than five minutes into the second period, the Aces increased their lead to 3-0, as Joey Crabb passed to Tommy Mele, who one timed the puck past Bunz at the 4:46 mark.

The Thunder finally got on the board after a tangle of sticks set the puck bouncing free on the left side. Constant picked up the puck, firing a shot past Coleman from the left circle to cut the lead to 3-1 6:03 into the second period.

Early in the third period, Zach Harrison found Garry Nunn on a breakaway. Nunn beat Bunz to increase the Alaska lead to 4-1 2:22 into the third period. Bobby Hughes then converted a pass from Imbeault at 10:57 into the third period to put the Thunder behind 5-1.

With 2:24 to go in the game, Thompson’s second goal of the game was a tap in at the right post for a 6-1 Alaska lead.

The Thunder finally responded with 1:48 left after Kristians Pelss put a shot on goal from the slot. The rebound went right to center Phil Mangan, who put the puck in the net to cut the lead to 6-2.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Matt Bergland and Kevin Noble … defenseman Cameron Brodie returned to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 27…the Thunder were held scoreless for a whole period at home for the first time since Oct. 28 against Bakersfield…defenseman Teigan Zahn returned to the Thunder after a five-game stint with the Oklahoma City Barons…the Thunder did not have a power play all game.

Up next, the Thunder will head to Citizens Business Bank Arena for a showdown with the division-leading Ontario Reign Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. (1280 KWSX/StocktonThunder.com). The team will then head back to Stockton Arena for a confrontation with the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday, Dec. 1. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m.

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

THREE STARS:
1. AK – N. Thompson
2. AK – G. Coleman
3. STK – R. Constant