Black Friday Showdown between Thunder and Reign
The Stockton Thunder (@StocktonThunder), proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders and the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, kick off game 15 of 16 in the month of November tonight against the Ontario Reign at 7:30. Stockton Arena doors will open at 6:30 and the Silver Bullet Bar will open at 5:30.
Fans can purchase the any of the Thunder’s Holiday Plan’s which may be right for you! Order now until 11:59 p.m. tonight to receive a FREE Garet Hunt autographed and framed photo.
Fans who aren’t in attendance tonight 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.
The Thunder rattled off four consecutive wins but that streak ended Wednesday when the Reign won in a shootout in Ontario. However, the Thunder are still riding a stretch of six straight games in which they’ve picked up at least a point. That streak started November 17th when the Thunder picked up a point in a shootout loss to the Bakersfield Condors.
That Wednesday night contest started off with a “chorus of boos” as Thunder Captain Garet Hunt got his team on the board with under four minutes to go in the first period. Andrew Clark drove to the net and got the puck into the slot where Hunt would tap it past Ontario goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
Then the game turned into a duel between Hutchinson and Thunder goalie Brian Foster. The two netminders who rank near the top of the league in goals-against-average, save percentage and wins, held their respective teams in the game as Foster ended the night stopping 43 of 45 shots while Hutchinson stopped 37 of 39.
While both goaltenders held their opponents off the score sheet in the second period, the third period began with two goals in a stretch of five minutes for the Reign. Ontario defenseman Jake Newton scored a power play marker while Landon Oslanski was in the box, followed by a one-timer from the slot ripped by Everett Sheen for the first Ontario lead of the game.
The Thunder responded quickly though as under a minute later, Michal Spacek blasted a shot on Hutchinson and the rebound came out to Joey Martin and Greg Miller. The two pounded away at the puck with Miller eventually sliding the tying marker past the Ontario goaltender.
Both teams continued to have quality scoring chances for the remainder of the third, and into overtime, but the goalies had an answer for every Thunder and Reign shot.
The game went to a shootout with both teams scoring in the fifth round. Defenseman Matt Register put the pressure on the Thunder in the eighth round when he beat Foster for the go ahead goal. Head Coach Rich Kromm sent out J.P. Burkemper to attempt to tie the game, and while Burkemper looked to have beaten the goalie on a the forehand deke, Hutchinson threw his glove hand out at the last second to rob the forward and win the game for the Reign.
The Thunder are just two points behind Ontario but with a regulation win tonight, the Thunder would usurp the Reign for the top spot in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference due to tiebreakers. In the absence of leading scorer Ryan Hayes, Clark has taken over the team lead with 6 goals and only one back of Hayes’ team lead of 17 points.
The Thunder have shown some scoring depth as 11 players have over 5 points, seven of which have registered over 10 points including Hayes, Clark, Ryan Constant, Martin, Corey Trivino, Hunt and Oslanski.
Tonight’s game will also mark the final home game for the Thunder until Sunday, December 15th. The Thunder are set to embark on a season long 5 game road trip, which is tied for the season long trip. The team travels to Bakersfield tomorrow; while a 3 game set in Idaho awaits them next week, followed by a game in San Francisco.