Analyze This: The Clincher

Tuesday, 02.26.13 / 5:05 PM
By Stockton Thunder Staff

By Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer

The Stockton Thunder clinched a spot in the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs thanks to a season-high four power play goals in a 4-1 win over the Ontario Reign on Sunday at Stockton Arena. Defensemen Brandon Davidson, Ryan Constant, and Tony DeHart (as well as forward Matt Reber) each found the back of the net. Stockton improved to 29-22-9 (67 points).

Turning Point

The puck had just dropped for the third period and the Thunder, up 2-0, looked to reverse an unfavorable trend: Stockton had allowed three third period goals in each of the last two games against Ontario. Starting the period on a power play, the Thunder found the backbreaker when forward Matt Reber took forward Maxime Boisclair’s pass in front of the crease and blasted it by Sergey Kostenko to put Stockton up 3-0 just 29 seconds into the final frame.

Play of the Game

Reber and Davidson combined to put the Thunder on top 17:27 into the opening period. Taking a pass from Boisclair near the end line, Reber skated to the edge of the left circle and zinged a precision pass through traffic to Davidson at the right circle. Davidson followed Reber’s pinpoint feed with a laser of his own, sending a wrist shot to the upper left corner of the net and putting the Thunder up 1-0.

Best Player on the Ice

Goaltender Tyler Bunz was dominant in net on Sunday, rightfully taking home first star honors with a 27-save performance. Now 13-13-4 on the season, Bunz stepped up when needed, allowing just one goal in a third period which saw the Thunder outshot 16-5. Bunz went over 51 minutes before allowing Ontario’s lone goal, contributing to a time of 141:41 without a visitor’s goal at Stockton Arena (dating back to Feb. 15).

The Guy Who Needs More Credit

With injuries leaving the Thunder with a depleted defense, defenseman Ryan Constant delivered with what proved to be a game-winner on his only shot of the game 10:44 into the second period. Constant also provided an assist on Reber’s goal in the third period.

What They Said

“We had two choices: either roll over and let them walk all over us, or play the way did. It was a pretty amazing effort by a lot of the guys.”

– Thunder goaltender Tyler Bunz on Stockton playing with a depleted roster on Sunday