Thunder Host Idaho to Close out Three-in-Three
The Thunder look for their fourth victory in a row today as they take on the Idaho Steelheads for the second time, and second day in a row. Opening draw is set for 4:00 p.m. with doors opening at 3:00 p.m and the Silver Bullet Bar opening at 2:00 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.
These two teams faced off last night for the first time this season and the first time since the Idaho Steelheads were eliminated in the Western Conference Final back on May 11th of this year.
Instead of the Thunder allowing the early period goals like they did on Friday against Utah, they struck quick themselves, scoring just 4:50 into the game. Landon Oslanski blasted a shot that caromed wide on Idaho netminder Pat Nagle but was corralled at the blue line by Ryan Constant. Constant looked, turned and ripped a shot that beat the Idaho keeper and gave the Thunder the early lead.
Constant wouldn’t be finished though as he quarterbacked an early second period power play to perfection and found Captain Garet Hunt screening Nagle with no defenseman in sight. Constant fired a low shot that Hunt was able to redirect for the 2-0 Thunder lead.
The Stockton power play may have cooled off a bit but they are still an extremely dangerous unit. The Thunder currently have the best power play in the ECHL having converted on 25.9% of their opportunities. While they used to sport a 60% conversion rate on home ice, the Thunder currently have converted 44% of all opportunities at Stockton Arena.
Later in the second period, California-bred Mitch Wahl scored a nifty goal just under 4 minutes after Hunt’s goal. Wahl had the puck on the nearside boards and deceived the Thunder defense with a quick head-fake, turned and fired an extremely accurate shot over Brian Foster on the short side to bring the Steelheads within one.
The game would stay 2-1 but near the end of the third period, with Nagle on the bench for the extra attacker, Idaho put the pressure on the Thunder. Foster made a couple key saves with the extra man and after making a save that came off his shoulder and carried into the corner, Constant picked it up and banked one of the glass and down the ice that somehow found its way in for the empty net goal.
After having been involved in all three goals, Constant would most deservedly pick up first star honors after carrying his team to the 3-1 win and also tie Las Vegas defenseman Jeff May for the league lead in points among defenseman with 13.
Constant is also tied with Andrew Clark for second on the team in points with 13. Both players sit four points back of Ryan Hayes who was scratched for the second game in a row due to an undisclosed injury.
Now the Thunder look to close out the three-in-three in today’s afternoon matchup with the Steelheads. The team on West Fremont Street hasn’t seemed fazed by the amount of action it has faced this month, let alone this week. When the Thunder takes the ice today, it’ll not only be the fifth game they’ve played in a week’s time and fourth in five days, but also game 13 of 16 in the month of November.
The Thunder, who are riding a three-game winning streak, did make up ground in the Pacific Division last night as the Bakersfield Condors were able to knock of the Ontario Reign 2-1. The Thunder, who sits second in the Pacific with 21 points, are now only three points back of the Reign with a home-and-home looming this week.
This game will be the finale 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.
It’s also Family Day, and while it cannot be combined with the canned food drive offer, it does save your family a lot of money! For just $38, you receive four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas and order online and you’ll receive a Thunder hat at no charge. Purchase your Family Day package today at StocktonThunder.com.