Thunder Visit Utah to Begin Two-Game Set
The Stockton Thunder (17-11-0-4) visit the Utah Grizzlies (12-15-2-3) on the road at the Maverik Center for the first time this season. Puck drops on game one of the two-game weekend set tonight at 6:05 p.m. PT.
Fans can head to the Thunder’s official “home away from home” at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel to watch live coverage of the game on AmericaONE while enjoying special Thunder food and drink specials. Free live audio of the broadcast is available to listen to on Spreaker.com and StocktonThunder.com. Free audio is now also available from AmericaOne on your computer, on iOS devices, and android devices.
The Thunder look to add to their 3-0-0-0 record against the Grizzlies this season after knocking off Utah three times at home earlier in the season. The Thunder beat the Grizzlies twice on “Thunder Goes Pink VIII” weekend, 3-2 and 6-1, and by another 3-2 score line on November 22nd. However, it has been a while since those games and both teams will have different looks in tonight’s match-up.
The Thunder will be without goaltender Parker Milner following his second call-up to the AHL this season by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Milner was in outstanding form in his last two starts, picking up a victory at home against the San Francisco Bulls before beating the Bulls on the road for his first pro-career shutout in a 5-0 win. Brian Foster will get the start in net tonight with emergency back-up goaltender Jay Stevens on the bench.
The Thunder are also without two of their top performers from the first three game against the Grizzlies. Forwards Ryan Hayes and Corey Trivino each had 5 points against Utah from their previous encounters. Hayes, who is the only Thunder player to score more than one goal against the Grizzlies this season, is still on the injured reserve list. He posted his two points against Utah in just two games. Trivino on the other hand is still in the AHL on his first career call-up to the next level, with the Portland Pirates.
Forward Joey Martin has been the hot hand as of late for the Thunder, leading the team in both assists and points with 7 goals, 23 assists and 30 points on the season. He’s posted 15 points in the last 11 games and has only failed to register a point in two of the contests over that span. Thunder captain Garet Hunt leads the team in goals with 11 on the season and his closing in on his career-high of 13. He also leads the team in penalty minutes with 85 on the year.
Utah has been relying on forward David Vallorani to provide the majority of the offense with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) this season. Vallorani also had the best showing of his team against the Thunder, registering 5 points on 2 goals and 3 assists in the three meetings between the sides. In net the duties have been split for the Grizzlies with Igor Bobkov, Aaron Dell and Ben Meisner all making more than ten starts in between the pipes, and Cody Reichard has recently been added to the mix, arriving from Fort Wayne.
The Thunder continue their five-game road trip and take on a mountain division opponent for the first time since December 7th when they hit the ice tonight. The team does not return home until January 18th, when the team hosts its “Teddy Bear Toss” event against the Bakersfield Condors. Then on Sunday the 19th, the team hosts the San Francisco Bulls, but also hosts Season Ticket Holders for a “Chalk Talk” with Coach Kromm. Season Ticket Holders only can head to the stadium at 2:30 as Coach Kromm will field your questions and give an update of where he thinks the team sits. In addition, Season Ticket Holders can pick up their gift at the Thunder Information Booth beginning on the 19th!