Thunder Beat Bulls in Overtime 7-6
Stockton, Calif. – In an exciting back-and-forth game, the Thunder pulled out a comeback overtime victory thanks to a game winner from forward Greg Miller to take down the San Francisco Bulls 7-6 at home on Saturday night.
“It was a good outcome at the end,” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “It’s frustrating to keep giving the lead up after getting it, but we ended the night with the lead.”
Miller scored the game winner with only 45 seconds left to go in the extra frame off a feed from forward Garet Hunt. Deck found Miller on the left side of the ice for the wrist shot that breezed past Bull’s goaltender J.P. Anderson.
“It was a great play by Hunt, he was pretty patient out there,” said Miller. “I remember taking it around the net and looking for someone to pass to. After I did they did a good job of keeping it in the box and when Hunt found me and I hit it as hard as I could.”
Alex MacLeod tallied the game tying goal against Anderson with 7:21 left in the third period. After defenseman Ben Rosen won the offensive ice faceoff, MacLeod was able to connect with the one timer, which set the stage for Miller’s overtime heroics.
MacLeod’s tally came in response to the Bulls’ great start to the third period, as San Francisco scored the first two goals of the frame to take a 6-5 lead. Forward Chris Crane, who tallied the first goal on the night for the Bulls, tied the game 4:33 into the third period. Forward Adrian Foster, who earned a helper on forward Dean Ouellet’s goal, then gave the Bulls a 6-5 lead with a goal of his own.
The Bulls starting goaltender Tyler Beskorowany was pulled in favor of backup netminder Anderson after surrendering 5 goals on 21 shots against through two periods. Anderson ended the night with 9 saves in the third period and 5 in the overtime period after coming in at the start of the third.
The final goal surrendered by Beskorowany was scored by forward Alex MacLeod. MacLeod’s goal gave the Thunder a 5-4 lead just over four minutes after center Joey Martin tied the game at 4-4 with a slap shot of his own. Forward Mitch Bruijsten, and Miller tallied helpers on the goal by Martin.
The line consisting of Bruijsten, Miller and Martin collected 11 points on the night. Bruijsten and Miller earned four points each off two goals and two assists with Martin picking up 3 points.
“We had a pretty good night tonight,” said Martin. “We have played a couple of games together now and we are starting to find our chemistry. Each of us bring something different to the line, with each of us building off each other and playing well.”
The game started with animosity in the air stemming from Friday’s night matchup between the two rivals. Only 2:41 into the game, Thunder defenseman Mike Dalhuisen and Bulls defenseman Kyle Bigos dropped the gloves and set the tempo for the game which included some big hits throughout the game.
San Francisco scored first when Crane tipped the puck past Thunder goaltender Brian Foster. After Bulls forward Dean Ouellet threw the puck at the net, Crane deflected it in to give the Bulls the early lead.
The Bulls then doubled their lead only a 1:22 later thanks to forward Tyler Gron. Gron beat Foster off the feed from Jordan Morrison for what was a short lived two-goal advantage. Stockton responded quickly as Bruijsten knocked home a rebound past Beskorowany after Miller’s initial shot was saved. The tally came 33 seconds after Gron’s marker and was Bruijsten’s first-career ECHL goal.
“Last night I had a couple of chances to bury the puck and it didn’t work out,” said Bruijsten. “Tonight was a different story and the first one went in, and the second one felt even better.”
After the Bulls and Thunder swapped goals, one coming from Ouellet late in the first period and the other coming from Miller early in the second, Bruijsten tied the game at 3-3 with his second of the night. Off a feed from Martin, the Stockton forward beat Beskorowany up high. The goal was the second of the night for Bruijsten.
Miller becomes just the second Thunder player to score a game-winning goal in overtime this season as both of the previous Thunder wins in the extra period were thanks to goals by Andrew Clark. With the win the Thunder move to 15-10-0-4 on the season and are 8 points ahead of the San Francisco Bulls in the Pacific Division standings. Both teams are back at it tomorrow afternoon to finish off the three-game weekend set.
The puck drops at 4:00 p.m. for tomorrow afternoon’s game, which is the Thunder’s “Kids Take Over Stockton Arena” day. Kids will be helping in all facets of running Stockton Arena during the game with jobs such as ticket sales executive, off-ice official, broadcaster and much more. Following the game, up to 500 kids will be allowed onto the ice to showcase their artistic talent by painting on the ice itself. The Thunder will then play a game on the newly redecorated surface on January 3rd. There will be 240 painting spots available for kids to sign up on the day of the game at the Thunder booth on the fan deck. For more information visit StocktonThunder.com.