Thunder Platoon Go for Military Sweep
The Stockton Thunder (30-30-1-6) finish off Military Appreciation Weekend tonight against the Utah Grizzlies (36-23-3-5) with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.
Stockton Arena Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the Silver Bullet Bar serving cold Rough & Ready Irish Red to patrons 21-years of age and over starting at 5:30 p.m. The first 1,500 fans in the building 13-years of age and over receive a Thunder inspired military cap.
Tonight will again continue the tributes and honor to those who served our county with recognition to all of those who have or are serving our country as well as acknowledgments to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedoms.
The Welcome Home Heroes Foundation Travelling Tribute displays over 6,600 names who have been Killed in Action in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the ongoing Global War on Terrorism. The moving tribute will be stretched across the fan deck for those who wish to pay their respects to these brave men and women.
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales for the event along with a portion of the jersey auctions will be given to Welcome Home Heroes, a nonprofit based in San Joaquin County made up of Gold Star & Blue Star Families and local veterans who assist Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans so that they do not lose homes, create unbearable debt and stress, and provide assistance to those who have suffered injuries resulting from serving the military.
Those jerseys that will be auctioned off during at the Silent Auction table on the Fan Deck Saturday, along with the postgame live auction after tonight’s game are inspired by the military, featuring a desert, digital camo and are based off the Thunder’s alternate jersey with the “Thor Head” logo. US flags adorn both shoulders just as they do on service uniforms and feature the patches of the US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, and US Coast Guard.
Replica jerseys are available at the fan attic but the only way to get your hands on the authentic jerseys with sewn on patches is through the auctions.
Tonight’s live postgame auction (which will be presented by former or current servicemen) includes the jerseys from Thor, Shawn Boutin, Ryan Hayes, Corey Trivino, Andrew Clark, Parker Milner, Joey Martin, Matt Bergland, Ryan Constant, Brian Foster, Garet Hunt and the newest member of the Thunder Scott Langdon.
Langdon, the former captain of the San Francisco Bulls brings added leadership and physicality to an improving blue line. The 6’2”, 215 lb. defenseman suited up in 40 games with the San Francisco Bulls this season picking up 3 goals and adding 4 assists before signing with the South Carolina Stingrays, playing in 20 games with them and adding two helpers. In total, Langdon has 132 penalty minutes this season with 100 of those coming while with the Bulls. He is expected in the lineup tonight.
Of course there isn’t much that Head Coach Rich Kromm will want to change about last night’s game against the Utah Grizzlies as his team finally snapped a six-game winless streak and ended the night saluting the real American heroes in the stands.
Certainly during that six-game stretch the Thunder weren’t their best, with new players coming in and out of the lineup, but the team had been playing well as of late but luck just hasn’t been on their side.
Call it skill or call it luck but the Thunder scored two goals in a matter of 1:30 nearly the same way. First it was Clark in his second game back from an extended stay in the AHL, dekeing around a defenseman, waiting out the goaltender Igor Bobkov, and then banking one off the netminder’s back and in over the goal line to make it 1-0 Thunder.
The fans didn’t have to wait long for the second when Hayes, from virtually the same spot as Clark, threw a centering pass intended for Matt Mangene that banked off the skates of Utah defenseman Andrew O’Brien and in for the 2-0 lead.
The Grizzlies would respond to cut the lead in half with a powerplay goal. Phil Mangan’s shot made it through to Milner but the goaltender was able to stop the initial try. Camping at the left circle was O’Brien who put the rebound behind the Thunder tender and in to cut the lead 2-1.
The Thunder would add an insurance tally 1:22 into the third when a two-on-one was worked to perfection by Jeremy Langlois and Martin, ultimately with the Alternate Captain finishing the play with a wrister past Bobkov and in.
Martin is the team leader in goals and in points as the centerman, now winger, has 19 goals and 59 points, just three more goals and five more points than Langlois who picked up his first two points in a Thunder uniform last night (both assists). Langlois had 52 points in 49 games with the Evansville Icemen before the Bridgeport Sound Tigers traded for him in an AHL deal.
Charles Sarault, playing in his fourth game with the Grizzlies after being sent down by the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, cut the Thunder lead down to one with a goal just past the midway mark in the third but Milner and the defense would insure that no other pucks got past him on the way to the Thunder 3-2 win.
The Thunder, who still remain in 7th place in the Western Conference, may be seeing Utah goalie Aaron Dell tonight after Bobkov played on Friday. Dell has gone 1-2-0-0 in three games against the Thunder posting a 3.68 goals-against-average and a .882 save percentage.
Despite the poor numbers against the Thunder, Dell has been very good this year with a 17-6-0-2 record, two shutouts, a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage. Dell kicked off 2014 by being named the ECHL Goaltender of the Month of January, giving way to Bobkov to win the award in both February and March making the Grizzlies the first team in ECHL history to win that award in three-straight months.
After tonight’s game the Thunder will take off for a three-game road trip beginning in Ontario tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The Thunder conclude their regular season series with the Reign on Wednesday before heading to Bakersfield to conclude their season series and the Thunder’s road schedule.
The Thunder are next home on Saturday, April 12 when they host the Las Vegas Wranglers for the second and final time all season to end the regular season. The first 1,500 in the building for the finale will receive white rally towels to help cheer on the Thunder. It will also be Group Appreciation Night, so if you brought a group for an outing this season, take advantage of special pricing on the final game and bring them out again.
For more information, contact your representative, or the Thunder Front Office at 209-373-1500.