Thunder and Aces Resume Series Tonight
After a day off on Monday, the Stockton Thunder (22-19-0-5) get set to take on the Alaska Aces (30-11-2-1) for their fourth of five straight meetings in Anchorage. Opening face-off is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. PST (7:15 p.m. AKST). It is the sixth game of the Thunder’s seven-game road trip.
Fans can watch the game at the Thunder’s “home away from home” the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel while enjoying food and drink specials. The broadcast starts at 8:00 p.m. PST with the Black Oak Casino Resort pre-game show. Live video is available through AmericaONE sports while fans can listen to free live audio through Spreaker.com and StocktonThunder.com.
The Thunder are looking to snap their second three-game losing streak in their last seven games and get their first win of the season against the Aces. After three losses over the weekend, the Thunder have slipped to sixth place in the Western Conference standings and are only three points ahead of the Bakersfield Condors for seventh place.
The team suffered its closest loss to Alaska at Sullivan Arena on Sunday night, as they fell by just one goal, 4-3. The Thunder were led by defenseman Landon Oslanski who put in a two-goal performance while forward Greg Miller cut the deficit to one in the third period with his team-leading 15th goal of the season. However, it was not enough as the Aces scored four or more goals for the third straight game. Alaska’s top line of forwards Nick Mazzolini, Peter Sivak and Brendan Connolly accounted for all four goals, which has now tallied a combined 21 points in three games against the Thunder.
One boost for Stockton is the return of captain Garet Hunt who has missed the previous two games due to a suspension by the ECHL for his part in a pre-game warm-up fight between the two teams before Saturday night’s game. The Thunder will still be without forward Mathieu Gagnon who is serving the second game of a three-game suspension from the ECHL for his role in the fight. Alaska will be missing defenseman Sean Curry, missing the second contest of a two-game suspension, while fellow defenseman Dustin Molle returns to the line-up after completing his two-game suspension.
Hunt was just passed by Miller for the team lead in goals and is tied for second on them team in points with 33 this season, behind Joey Martin’s 42. Speaking of Martin, the 25-year-old Thorold, Ontario native will be available for tonight’s game after suffering a cut to his face on Sunday. Martin returned to the ice for the third period of that game.
Oslanski and forward James Henry are tied for the most points against Alaska as each has totaled three points in three games. Miller’s 15th goal of the season on Sunday gives him 33 points on the year. The rookie graduate from Cornell University has the second most goals and is tied for the third most points among ECHL rookies this season. Henry is tenth in the league in points by rookie players with 29.
Alaska continues to be led by forwards Mazzolini, Sivak and Connolly. Mazzolini and Sivak are tied with eight points apiece against the Thunder. Both are tied for the team lead in goals with 17 while Sivak leads the team in points with 54 ahead of Mazzolini’s 43. Mazzolini is Alaska’s team captain and was just named the Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week for his performance against Stockton. Connolly is third on the team in goals, assists and points and has five total points against the Thunder in three games.
The Thunder get another day off on Wednesday before returning to action on Thursday night at Sullivan Arena for another 8:15 p.m. PST start against the Aces. The Thunder then return to Stockton Arena for their next home game on Saturday, February 15, when they host the Utah Grizzlies on Star Wars night. The first 1,000 fans entering the arena will receive free Lightsaber Thunder-Sticks. For more information, visit StocktonThunder.com.