RECAP: All in the Reichards

Wednesday, 12.05.12 / 10:47 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

Thunder tied for first place in Pacific Division, Reichard earns first career shutout

FINAL STATS: Box score
VIDEO: Highlights and postgame reaction
AUDIO: Game highlights – Thunder Replay
MORE: Matt Thomas postgame quotes

By Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer

STOCKTON, Calif. – Goaltender Cody Reichard (5-1-1), just one day after putting on his best performance of the season, upped the bar even higher by stopping all 38 shots he faced and posting the first shutout of his professional career Wednesday night. The Stockton Thunder (13-5-3, 29 points) needed all of his stops, as they pulled out a 1-0 victory at home over the Las Vegas Wranglers at Stockton Arena.

“The guys played really well in front of me,” said Reichard. “We limited their chances on the outside. They could have had a lot of shots, a lot of opportunities from the outside, like last night. There were a lot of big blocks from a bunch of different guys stepping up and good back check. As I said last night, the guys are playing really well in front of me.”

Stockton moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Ontario Reign. Forward Toni Rajala continued his scoring streak, scoring the game-winning goal to make it 13 straight games with a point, an ECHL season-high. Las Vegas’ Joe Fallon stopped 22 of 23 shots.

Toni Rajala put the puck past Joe Fallon with a backhanded deke for the game's only goal.

After a scoreless first period, the Thunder got the scoring started off a great transition.

As the last second of four-on-four play ended, forward Yannick Riendeau, who had been serving the penalty, skated onto the ice and found the puck which had been sent to center ice off a deflection. Riendeau dished the puck off to Rajala at the front of the net, who beat Fallon one-on-one with a backhanded deke to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead just 2:39 into the second period.

“[Reichard] was the difference-maker,” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said. “We didn’t play very well. We did a lot of good things defensively in a lot of areas, especially around the net. We cleared a lot of second and third opportunities that they could have had. But Reichard was the difference. He deserved to be the first star, and the player of the game in everyone’s minds.”

Las Vegas outshot the Thunder 11-9 in the third period and Reichard’s last save was critical. With the Wranglers pressuring on a six-on-four power play with an extra attacker, Reichard flared his left pad to deny Andrew Sarauer’s bid from the right circle with less than 15 seconds left.

Teigan Zahn cleared the defensive zone to seal the win.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Matt Reber, Kevin Noble, Matt Bergland, and Kristians Pelss…Rajala’s goal came on the first Thunder shot of the second period…Cody Reichard’s shutout is just the second home shutout in the past two seasons and the first since a 4-0 win over Alaska on Mar. 3…the Thunder improved to 3-0-1 against Las Vegas this season.

The two teams will next meet for the third time in a row, this time in Las Vegas. The Thunder and Wranglers will conclude their three-game series Saturday, Dec. 8 at Orleans Arena. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. (1280 AM KWSX/StocktonThunder.com).

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. STK – C. Reichard
2. STK – T. Rajala
3. LV – J. Fallon