Back and Forth Contest Ends in Loss
After leading 3-0 after one period, the Thunder faltered to the Colorado Eagles by a final score of 7-5 Saturday night at Stockton Arena.
“We were two different teams in the first period and the second period,” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “Then in the third period I thought Colorado capitalized on their power plays. We knew they were skilled and we knew if we gave them opportunities then they could capitalize, and they did.”
After the first period the Thunder held a 3-0 lead, surrendering 7 goals in the final two frames, including the final three goals of the game.
The eventual game winner was scored by Colorado forward Kyle Ostrow when he scored off Thunder goaltender Parker Milner. Milner controlled a dump in and attempted to throw it around the boards, however, the goaltender’s clearing attempt bounced off the side of the net. Ostrow used his momentum to quickly snag the puck and bank it off the goaltenders skates and in before the Thunder netminder could get set.
Stockton did score twice in the third period, with the first coming from J.P. Burkemper who started the third period scoring. Burkemper put home a rebound given up by Colorado goaltender Adam Brown to give the Thunder the momentary lead.
After Colorado tied the game at four, it’d be Thunder forward James Henry, who also scored in the first period, who would once again put the Thunder ahead. On an odd man rush, Henry put it top shelf on the Colorado netminder to wrap the scoring up for the Thunder. The Thunder would be unable to pad their lead and it would in fact be Colorado who scored three-straight times, with Ostrow’s game winner sandwiched by two goals from forward Trent Daavettila, to take the two-points.
The Thunder got the game started off well with the second fastest goal of the season, scored just 40 seconds into the first period. Matt Bergland absorbed a big hit just inside the Colorado blueline but was able to get the puck to fellow linemate Greg Miller. Miller fed Garet Hunt in the slot and the Thunder captain wristed one past Brown. Hunt’s tally set a new personal career high in goals for a season, surpassing the 2010-2011 season in which he had 13.
“It’s a good personal milestone to achieve and I’m happy to surpass my old season high,” said Hunt. “It would have been that much sweeter if we could have gotten the win tonight. I always say that you can’t always focus on points, it’s a team game.”
Just 1:06 later in the first, the Thunder collected their second goal from Henry. After Henry won the face off in the offensive zone, defensemen Sean Escobedo corralled the puck and took a shot which the Colorado netminder saved. The rebound found Henry’s blade and he tapped it in for the 2-0 Thunder lead.
After helping Henry on the last goal, Escobedo collected one of his own to cap the first period scoring for the Thunder. Miller won the offensive zone draw to defenseman Lee Baldwin. Baldwin zipped a pass over to his defensive partner for the third Thunder goal of the opening frame and Escobedo’s first professional goal.
“It was a great feeling to score and to help the team out in the first period,” said Escobedo. “We had a really good first period and my goal just started with Miller on the faceoff and ended in the net.”
After tonight’s loss, the Thunder now moves to 21-15-0-3 on the season with a daunting road schedule ahead. The Thunder will take off on a now season long seven-game road trip as they visit Bakersfield on Tuesday and Ontario on Wednesday before flying up to frigid Alaska for a five-game series against the Aces. The Thunder will next be home on February 15 for Star Wars Night and once again take off for another series against the Eagles in Colorado.