RECAP: Two for the Show
Two goals apiece from Abney, Riendeau power Thunder to series closing win
LOVELAND, Colo. –
LOVELAND, Colo. –Yannick Riendeau and Cameron Abney each buried two goals and the Stockton Thunder (20-13-7, 47 points) never trailed, blasting the Colorado Eagles in a 6-2 victory before 5,289 fans at Budweiser Events Center on Saturday.
The Thunder ended the season series with a victory, finishing 3-3-0 against the Eagles. Gabriel Levesque also chipped in with a goal and an assist while Garet Hunt produced a key first period goal. Goaltender Cody Reichard earned the win with 34 saves.
Frustrations also boiled over into 83 combined penalty minutes between the two teams, with eight misconduct and major penalties dished out. Eagles head coach Chris Stewart was also ejected from the game in the first period.
“Tonight was a good effort – we got a lead and never gave it up,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “We stayed the course and played through a tough game because of the power plays back and forth. I liked the way we worked. We did what we needed to do to win a game on the road.”
Levesque got the Thunder on the board early, breaking a 24 game goal scoring slump with a snap shot under the crossbar that beat Adam Brown from the right circle at the 2:42 mark of the first period.
Riendeau boosted the lead to 2-0 on a wraparound through Brown’s five hole with 15:20 left, but Colorado responded when Michael Forney hit Kevin Ulanski with a pass at the right wing. Ulanski converted a wrist shot off the rush with 8:03 elapsed to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Thunder retaliated and extended their lead to 2-1 after a disallowed goal from the previous shift. Hunt stashed a rebound at the goal mouth with 2:29 left in the period, aided on a feed by Matt Ambroz.
Colorado, earning four minor penalties in the opening 20 minutes, fell into a deeper hole when Devin DiDiomete delivered a high hit to the head of Ryan Constant and was handed a five minute charging penalty and game misconduct late in the first period. They complicated their own matters after Joey Sides earned a tripping penalty just 35 seconds into the second period to put the Thunder on five on three power play.
Riendeau then converted his second goal of the game on a backdoor finish at the right post with 1:38 into the second period, set up by Tony DeHart at the left point.
Abney boosted the lead to 5-1 when he blocked a shot at the blueline and chased down the loose puck at center to earn a breakaway. Abney fired a forehand bid off the post to Brown’s glove side, but the puck caromed off Brown’s back and into the net with 1:04 left in the period.
Colorado defenseman Jake Marto blasted home his third goal of the season with four seconds left in the period to cut the gap to 5-2.
As frustrations mounted between the two teams in the third period, four fighting majors were handed out and the Thunder responded by closing out the Eagles with their second power play goal.
Abney ripped a blast from the left circle that beat Brown to the blockier side with 3:17 left in the game for his second goal.
“We needed that out of Abney,” said Thomas. “We talked about guys stepping up and scoring goals when we had opportunities. He had two nice goals. We needed to use our depth in the game. Our depth came through.”
Brown took the loss with 25 saves.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Jesse Fratkin, Kevin Noble, Colten Hayes and Ryan Green … Riendeau’s two goal effort gave him 12 points in the last 11 games … the Thunder ended Colorado’s nine game winning streak at home – Florida was the last to win in Loveland in Nov. 21 … with all of the penalties sorting out, the Thunder earned two power play goals on 14 chances.
The Thunder will enjoy a break until next Friday, Jan. 18, when they begin a three game series against the San Francisco Bulls at Stockton Arena, beginning at 7:30 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. STK – Y. Riendeau
2. STK – C. Reichard
3. COL – K. Ulanski