RECAP: Scrapping to the End
Alaska completes sweep on Mazzolini’s trio of assists
ANCHORAGE, Alaska –
ANCHORAGE, Alaska –Nick Mazzolini collected three assists to boost the Alaska Aces offense, en route to a 4-1 win over the Stockton Thunder (15-9-6, 36 points) before 5,819 fans at Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
The Thunder, swept in a three game series in Anchorage, were led offensively by Mike Little’s goal in the third period. Emotions boiled over in the three game series finale and eight fighting majors were issued by the officials.
A fight marred first period began with a scrap at the opening faceoff as Teigan Zahn dropped the gloves with Alaska’s William Wrenn.
Stockton answered the scrap with a strong defensive stand, recording the first five shots on goal and not allowing a single shot by the Aces in the first 12 minutes.
But momentum changed following a Thunder power play. After Alaska killed a penalty late in the first period, Matt Robinson hit Joey Crabb with a relay pass, who sped through the middle and beat Cody Reichard with a backhanded deke at 16:36 to put the Aces up 1-0.
With 3:23 left in the first period, Cameron Abney and Dustin Molle traded punches in the second scrap of the game.
Garet Hunt and Chris Clackson, involved in a verbal confrontation at the end of Friday’s game, settled their score just two seconds later with Hunt delivering a series of punches before the two players ended the fight at the glass, separated by the officials.
Nick Mazzolini then hit Bobby Hughes with a backdoor pass from the left wing for a power play goal at the 4:24 mark of the second period, boosting the Aces lead to 2-0.
Garry Nunn then fattened the Aces edge to 3-0 with 4:19 left in the period on the Aces’ second power play goal of the period. Mazzolini corralled the puck behind the net and fed Nunn at the right circle, whose one timer beat Reichard over the blocker.
The Thunder finally got on the board with a Mike Little power play goal with 13:18 left in the third period when he collected a rebounded puck in the slot and fired a snap shot over Gerald Coleman’s glove for his fourth goal of the season.
Alaska held off the Thunder comeback attempt in the third period, allowing just seven shots on goal. Alexandre Imbeault wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal with 1:28 left in regulation.
Cody Reichard took the loss in net with 25 saves.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Matt Reber, Kevin Noble, and Ryan Constant … the Thunder went 1-of-3 on the power play … Yannick Riendeau had an assist on Little’s power play goal, giving him 18 points in the last 14 games … the Thunder fell to 2-3-1 in the series against Alaska.
The Thunder returns to play after the holiday break in a game on Thursday, Dec. 27 against the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena, starting at 7:00 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
1. AK – G. Coleman
2. AK – B. Hughes
3. AK – N. Mazzolini