Thunder Host Idaho for First Time
The Stockton Thunder (@StocktonThunder), proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders and AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, kicks off a stretch of three games in three days against the Idaho Steelheads (8-4-1-1) tonight. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the Silver Bullet Bar opening at 5:30 p.m.
Fans who can’t make it out to Stockton Arena for the game can watch and listen live online. Streaming video is available through AmericaONE and live audio of the game is available through StocktonThunder.com or on Spreaker.com.
This is the first time the Idaho Steelheads have been at Stockton Arena since being eliminated in Western Conference Final back on May 11th of this year. That playoff series kicked off with two games in Idaho. The Thunder came away with victories in both games, including an Andrew Clark game winning overtime goal in Game 2.
The Thunder would then come back to Stockton Arena and drop Game 3 in overtime but win the next two to eliminate the Steelheads and send the Thunder to their first Kelly Cup Final. Once again, Clark scored the game winner in Game 5 that would prove to be the dagger.
Clark has carried over his tremendous Kelly Cup Playoffs into this season as he remains tied with James Henry and Ryan Hayes for a team lead of 5 goals while also ranking second on the team in points with 12.
The aforementioned Hayes is the leader in points for the Stockton Thunder with 17 but did not suit up last night due to a nagging injury. Despite not having their top point getter, the Thunder rallied in the third period for the second time this season against the Utah Grizzlies on their way to a 3-2 victory.
The Grizzlies got on the board first just 1:15 seconds into the game but that would eventually be matched when Corey Trivino would force a turnover, walk in all alone and go forehand-backhand on Utah goaltender Igor Bobkov to knot the game.
While momentum had seemingly shifted to the Thunder at the end of the first period, another early goal in the second period by Utah would put the home side on their heels.
Eventually, the team recovered the momentum and really took over the third period. The Thunder would tie the game up just 12 seconds into an early power play as Landon Oslanski scored his second goal in as many games when he ripped a point shot from a Joey Martin pass past Bobkov.
Brayden Irwin, who got the secondary assist on the play, had his 6’5” frame camped out in front of the 6’6” Bobkov. Initially the thought was that Irwin got a tip on the puck, but replays showed that the puck took a deflection off a Grizzlies player.
In a funny sense of foreshadowing, nearly 10 minutes later, Trivino fired a pass up to Irwin who used his body to get parallel with the Utah defender, and in spite of the fact he had one hand on his stick while being held up and eventually brought down on his stomach, the big centerman was able to one-hand the puck past Bobkov for what proved to be the winning goal.
Equally impressive as the Thunder’s win last night, was Idaho’s as they shutout the San Francisco Bulls 6-0. For Idaho goaltender Pat Nagle, it was his first shutout of the season, and an impressive one at that, as the former Kelly Cup Champion stopped all 41 shots he faced.
A total of 11 players on the Steelheads registered a point in last nights game with three recording multi-point efforts. Patrick Cullity had three assists, Etienne Boutet added two helpers, and the captain, Justin Mercier, recorded two goals.
Idaho’s leading point scorer, Anthony Nigro, was held to just 1 assist. Nigro is tied for seventh in the ECHL with 16 points. Not far behind him is Mitch Wahl who is tied for tenth with 15 points including one helper last night.
While the Steelheads have been scoring a lot of goals, they’ve also given up a lot, as the team is only +3 in goal differential. They sit in third place in the Mountain Division with 18 points. Colorado, who sits in second also at the 18 point mark, has played one fewer game than the Steelheads.
The Thunder is still chasing the Ontario Reign as they remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 19 points. The Thunder has moved one spot up in the Conference as they are a single point ahead of Colorado for third in the West while the Steelheads remain in fifth.
This game continues to be a part of the Thunder’s “Share Your Thanksgiving” promotion. Fans can receive $1 off the price of their ticket for each canned food item they donate at Stockton Arena, up to a minimum ticket price of $7 (glass, club and suite level seats are excluded and cannot be combined with other offers). All donations will benefit the Emergency Food Bank and Family Services of Stockton/San Joaquin. Season ticket holders can also donate and will receive one entry per canned food item into a raffle to win the use of a suite at an upcoming Thunder game. For more information, visit StocktonThunder.com.