RECAP: Third Game’s No Charm
Thunder ends four game road trip at 2-2-0, returns home Sunday
ONTARIO, Calif. –
ONTARIO, Calif. –Derek Couture scored two goals and broke a 2-2 tie with 3:52 left in the third period to help the Ontario Reign send the Stockton Thunder (28-22-9, 65 points) to a 4-2 loss before 7,793 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Friday.
The Thunder, who were fighting their way through their third game in three nights, held a 2-1 lead through two periods and had their magic number remain at four points to clinch a playoff berth. Stockton ended a four game road trip at 2-2-0.
Ontario struck first on Couture’s 19th goal of the season on the power play for a 1-0 lead at 10:01 of the first period.
Off the Reign’s face-off win, C.J. Stretch set up Dan DaSilva at the right point. Couture went to the front of the net and deflected DaSilva’s slapshot past Olivier Roy’s blocker.
After Ontario squandered a two man advantage, the Thunder roared back with two goals in a 35 second span to swipe a 2-1 lead by the end of the second period.
The Thunder caught the Reign on a line change and Matt Bergland rocketed a pass to the tape of Mike Little, who stashed his fifth goal of the season from the mid-slot with 1:05 left.
Shawn Weller then fed a nifty backhanded pass from behind the net to Colten Hayes, who picked up his first goal of the season on a wrist shot from between the circles.
Ontario came back to level the score, 2-2 on D.J. King’s first goal in a Reign uniform when he deflected C.J. Stretch’s centering pass, from the right wing, through Roy’s five hole.
The Thunder had three chances to claim the lead late on a blast by Mike Little from the slot and a follow-up by Gabriel Levesque, but a rolling puck eluded Levesque’s stick. The Reign countered and Dan DaSilva fed Couture with a tape-to-tape pass in the slot. Couture blistered a one timer by Roy to put Ontario up 3-2.
Brodie Sheahan wrapped up the game with an empty net goal with 14.2 seconds left.
Roy took his first loss of the ECHL season with 26 saves.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Jesse Fratkin, Teigan Zahn, Cameron Abney and Justin Maylan … Ontario led the game in shots at 30-21 … Brandon Davidson picked up an assist on Hayes’ goal for his sixth point in six games … Weller now has four points in four games … Ontario posted its sixth comeback win when trailing after two periods this season.
The Thunder returns to play at home on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. (1280 AM KWSX/StocktonThunder.com), hosting the Ontario Reign 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 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. ONT – D. Couture
2. ONT – C. Stretch
3. STK – B. Davidson