Clark’s OT Heroics Gives Thunder 4-3 Win
The Thunder came back in the third period and won on forward Andrew Clark’s overtime game winner to collect their fourth straight win as they beat the Idaho Steelheads 4-3.
Clark was able to hammer home the game-winning goal with only 45 second left in the extra frame from a Ryan Constant wrap-around, back-door pass. After entering the zone, Captain Garet Hunt found defenseman Constant, who circled behind Idaho netminder Brooks Ostergard and threw a centering feed through the crease to Clark who’d gotten behind the defense and tapped the puck in.
“I first cycled it down through the zone to Garet who made a good play to get it to Ryan,” Clark said. “Then Ryan was able to wrap it and I just went to the net looking for the puck which came to me and I had an empty net.”
Earlier in the third period, Thunder forward J.P. Burkemper was able to tie the game at three with his second goal of the year. Constant, who collected three points in last nights tilt and two in tonight’s game, shot the puck toward the net off a pass from fellow defenseman Nathan Deck, allowing the first year Thunder forward to get his stick on the puck.
“We entered the zone and had a good forecheck,” said Burkemper. “Deck passed it over to Constant who just threw it at the net and I just got my stick on it, redirecting it in.”
Stockton surrendered the lead early into the third period when they gave up two goals in a span of 31 seconds, however, that didn’t stop Stockton as they again rallied back just as they did in the second period, securing the victory in overtime.
With Thunder starting goaltender Brian Foster having the night off, new goaltender Brad Phillips stepped in, stopping 27 shots, allowing 3 goals, two of which were on the Idaho power play.
“I thought he was pretty steady tonight considering he hasn’t been playing that much,” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “We put him to the test tonight with a couple of odd man opportunities so he was challenged early on but he responded well.”
The Thunder first got on the board in the second period when they scored two goals, both coming on the power play. The first tally came from center Joey Martin, tying the game at 1. After some tic-tack-toe passing from forward Corey Trivino and defenseman Shawn Boutin, Martin was able to tip the puck past Ostergard. Martin’s tally came only 57 seconds into the second frame.
Stockton then took the lead for the first time when forward Brayden Irwin was able to score the powerplay goal with 1:23 left in the second period. After Martin found Trivino, the latter was able to find Irwin in the slot who beat the Steelhead netminder glove side. Trivino collected two assist on the afternoon, bringing his season total up to 8 helpers.
With the win, the Thunder finishes their season long six game home stand 4-1-0-1, improving their overall record to 11-4-0-1. The Thunder has nearly caught up to the Ontario Reign at the top of the Pacific Division as Stockton sits a single point behind Ontario.
This of course sets the stage for this week when the teams atop the Pacific battle in a home-and-home series. On Wednesday, the Thunder are in Ontario for the first time this season with the Pacific Division lead once again on the line at 7 p.m. Then the teams come back to Stockton on Friday to play another important game beginning at 7:30. It will be “Team Photo Giveaway Night” where the first 2,000 fans in Stockton Arena will receive a picture of the 2013-14 Stockton Thunder.
1st Star – Andrew Clark, STK – Overtime Game Winning Goal
2nd Star – Joey Martin, STK – 1 Goal and 1 Assist
3rd Star – Tommy Grant, STK – 2 Goals