Thunder End Road Trip with 5-4 Win
The Stockton Thunder (26-21-0-5) won their second game in a row against the Colorado Eagles (26-16-6-4) 5-4, to finish off their three-game weekend set in Loveland, CO. With the victory, the Thunder also take the season series against the Eagles, winning four of the seven games played against Colorado this year.
Forwards Corey Trivino and Adam Brace led the way offensively for the team, each finishing with a three-point night. Brace had two goals and an assist including the eventual game-winner with 3:24 left in the third period. Trivino posted one goal and two assists for the second straight night, giving him six points in four games with the Thunder since his return from a stint in the AHL with the Portland Pirates.
Four players total had multi-point games while goaltender Brian Foster picked up his 19th victory of the season, making 29 saves. He also picked up an assist for his third point of the year.
For the third straight time, the Thunder scored the opening goal of the game, taking the lead through Joey Martin’s tally just 1:45 into the first period. It was Martin’s 16th goal of the year, moving him within one of the team lead for the season. Martin also picked up an assist in the game putting him at 51 points this season, in a tie for the sixth most points in the ECHL. With the two points he surpasses his previous ECHL career high for points in a single season of 49, which he set in 2011-12.
The Eagles evened things up 6:40 into the period as Kevin Ulanski tapped home a rebound off of A.J. Hau’s shot. The Thunder drew a penalty from Colorado captain Riley Nelson midway through the period and Brace scored just six seconds into the man advantage to put the Thunder out in front 2-1. The goal snapped a streak of three games where the Thunder went 0-for-15 on the power play. It was Brace’s second tally for his new team in his fourth game with the squad.
The goal triggered a strange moment in the game as Colorado head coach Chris Stewart demonstrated his displeasure with the goal by throwing water bottles and sticks onto the ice from his bench. The game was delayed for five minutes while the objects were picked up. Stewart was given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct.
The Thunder capitalized on the ensuing power play as well. James Henry took a lead pass across the blue line and sent a shot towards the net. It appeared to glance off a defenseman sliding into the back of the net and leaving Colorado goalie Marc Cheverie standing in the crease. Foster was credited with the secondary assist on the play. The Thunder finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play. Trent Daavettila pulled a goal back late in the first period, finishing off a rebound, to cut the lead to 3-2 going into the first intermission.
The Eagles had things even at 3-3 at the 6:42 mark of the second. Jonathan Parker scored a five-on-three power play goal after Matt Bergland was hit with a tripping minor and defenseman Landon Oslanski was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Thunder retook the lead with 4:29 to play in the period. With a delayed penalty upcoming, Trivino came on as the extra attacker and took a pass from Henry in the slot. After drawing Cheverie out of the net, he deked to his left and fired into the empty cage for a 4-3 lead.
The Thunder played defensive-minded hockey in the third period, putting just three shots on net as they held onto their lead. Brace added an insurance tally for the Thunder with 3:24 left to go in the game as he cut across the crease and beat Cheverie through the five-hole. The goal would prove necessary as Kyle Ostrow scored a power play tally with 1:39 to play setting up a frantic finish. The Thunder were able to hold on though improving their record to 15-3-0-5 in games decided by one goal.
The team returns to Stockton Arena for their next game on March 2, against the Pacific Division-leading Ontario Reign. Before that contest, the Thunder will take to the ice for the Bulletproof Energy Skills and Drills competition on Wednesday, February 26, at 6:30 p.m. The event, which is only open to Thunder season ticket holders, will feature teams picked from the Thunder roster by captains Garet Hunt and Ryan Constant competing in five events to crown an overall winner. Players from the Stockton Colts junior hockey team will also be competing in the events.