Langlois Hat Trick Powers Thunder
The storm kept rolling in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals as the Thunder captured the 2-0 series lead thanks in part to the first hat trick of the Thunder’s season by Jeremy Langlois as they took down the Ontario Reign by a 5-3 final.
“We just have to take it one game at a time, it’s the old adage but right now it’s really true.” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “Right now we have come in and have a good game on Tuesday night and keep the momentum moving forward.”
The Thunder used the momentum from last nights game as they again scored first when forward Riley Wetmore slipped the rebound past Ontario starting netminder Jussi Olkinuora. The play started with Wetmore’s forecheck chipping the puck on the near side boards where Captain Garet Hunt gathered it and fed the puck to the middle of the ice for fellow lineman Matt Bergland. Bergland fired a low shot toward Olkinuora which the goaltender stopped, but did provide the rebound for Wetmore to tap in for the early lead.
After already tallying one goal in the first, the Thunder erupted for 4 goals in the second period alone including the last three from Thunder goals by Langlois. The first tally came early in the second period when Ontario couldn’t clear the puck, turning it over behind the net to Langlois. The standout rookie then centered the puck to forward Andrew Clark who backhanded the shot to double the lead.
From that point on in the second period it was Langlois’ time to shine as he first scored a goal on the power play that was initially credited to Clark. Clark took the point shot that was deflected in past Olkinuora to put the Thunder up 3-0.
Then just 3:10 later, Langlois scored again when he found himself all alone in the slot, received a pass from Bergland, and put it low and past the goaltender for the 4-0 advantage. The play all began when Bergland was able to outhustle an Ontario defender, took the puck away from him, and fed to the front for Langlois who tapped it in for his second of the night.
Ontario would respond with two goals just 1:24 apart against the Thunder netminder Brian Foster. The first came from defenseman Jake Newton which came on a delayed penalty call against the Thunder. Newton found a rebound at the near faceoff dot spun around and ripped a rising wrister past Foster.
Less than 30 seconds later, Lee Baldwin would head to the penalty box for holding and the Reign didn’t even need a minute of the power play to halve their deficit. ECHL Defenseman of the Year Matt Register blasted a shot on the power play to drop the Thunder lead to two.
However, the two goal deficit for Ontario was short lived as the Thunder capitalized on their next power-play goal from Langlois with only 2:07 left in the second period.
“Definitely anytime you get a hat trick it’s a cool feeling,” said Langlois. “We played pretty well tonight and my line mates definitely helped me earn that tonight.”
Langlois was able to backhand a rebound past Olkinuora for his third goal, again, coming on the power play.
The power play was a real weapon for the Thunder in Game 2 as they scored on two of the four chances earned. Langlois scored both of those goals en route to the only hat trick this season for the Thunder.
In the two playoffs games, the Joey Martin, Clark, and Langlois line has combined for 16 points, with Langlois leading the way with 4 goals and 3 assists.
“The power play was big tonight, usually in the playoffs your special teams are going to win you games,” said Martin. “My linemates are two really skilled guys. They can make plays so in the offensive zone we can create a lot of offense.”
Trailing 5-2 headed into the third period, Ontario scored their third goal on a play where Foster found himself down on the ice and scrambling to cover the puck. After a shot from defenseman Cody Sol, the scramble involving Foster ended with Jeremy Yablonski colliding with the goaltender on the ice with the momentum pushing the puck past the goal line. That would be the last of the scoring as Foster ended the night stopping 16 of the 19 shots faced, earning his second straight playoff victory.
Now with the 2-0 series lead, the series shifts to Ontario for back to back contests on Tuesday and Wednesday, with both games beginning at 7:00 p.m. Fans can take their new Garet Hunt and Ryan Constant cards to the Thunder’s Home Away from Home, the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, to pick up cards three and four, a Clark and Martin card, by purchasing something at Del Bistro and presenting the card.
With both games kicking off at 7:00, the watch party which will include some prizes, will begin at 6:00 p.m.