RECAP: Playing the Reichards

Wednesday, 01.02.13 / 10:30 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

Reichard seals first Thunder win of 2013 with 26 saves

FINAL STATS: Box score
AUDIO: Game highlights – Thunder Replay

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Goaltender Cody Reichard made 26 saves while the Stockton Thunder (18-10-7, 43 points) capitalized off two goals just 54 seconds apart in the second period, enough to sink the Utah Grizzlies in a 2-1 victory at Maverik Center on Wednesday.

Yannick Riendeau works on Utah defenseman Evan Stoflet during an up ice rush. (photo by Centerline Photography)

The Thunder, who split the two game series in Utah and improved to 3-1-0 in the head to head series, were led offensively with goals by Justin Maylan and Matt Bergland’s eventual game winner.

“The guys were really good in front of me,” said Reichard. “Our forwards back checked hard all night and the defense did a good job clearing all the rebounds I had by pushing things to the outside. I had to make the saves from the outside and the guys took care of the rest.”

Engelage took the loss with 30 saves.

Like Monday, both teams battled through a scoreless tie in the opening period with Reichard and Engelage recording impressive saves from close range.

Engelage closed the five hole early on a chance by Yannick Riendeau and with less than four minutes left, Reichard reached out with a diving left pad to stop Colin Vock’s backhander at the crease.

Both goaltenders continued to duel in the second period while the Thunder increased the pressure with 18 shots in the period. Maylan finally broke through with his 13th goal of the season, converting a broken play at the front with a wrist shot over Engelage’s glove with 3:03 left in the period.

“It’s funny how that works out,” said Maylan. “We had a slow start but got it going after awhile. We were getting some chances and it happens that (chances like that) go in. We just went to the net. Good things happen when you go to the net.”

Just 54 seconds later, the Thunder generated another rush into the Grizzlies zone and Bergland stashed a rebound off Garet Hunt’s wrist shot from the left circle for a 2-0 Thunder lead.

The Thunder had multiple chances to put the game away later and Engelage got in the way of a highlight reel move from Toni Rajala, who stopped at the Utah net and spun to a backhand shot that Engalage denied with his left shoulder.

Following that, Utah turned their fortunes around on a power play when Mitch Wahl finished Bryan Cameron’s centering pass from the right corner to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 15:53 left.

Engelage then stopped Teigan Zahn on another breakaway set up by Tony DeHart with 5:30 left in regulation.

Utah threatened by pulling the goaltender and earning a power play in the last minute of regulation but were unable to funnel pressure at the net. Drew MacKenzie’s blueline shot was blocked with five seconds left and the Thunder cleared the puck to close the game.

“(Tonight) was really satisfying,” said Maylan. “We knew we had to come here with two wins in mind but didn’t want to come away empty handed. We needed this one, so it was a good win. “

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Matt Reber, Jesse Fratkin, Kevin Noble, Harrison Reed, and Ryan Constant …Riendeau’s assist on Maylan’s goal gave him 20 points in the last 17 games … Mike Little also had an assist on the goal to move his scoring run to 11 points in the last 11 games … the Thunder led the game in shots at 32-27.

The Thunder returns home for its next game on Friday, hosting the Alaska Aces at 7:30 p.m. (1280 AM KWSX/StocktonThunder.com) at Stockton 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

THREE STARS:
1. UTA – M. Wahl
2. UTA – A. Engelage
3. UTA – T. Lewis