Thunder Take 2-0 Series Lead to Ontario
The #7 Stockton Thunder visit Citizens Business Bank Arena for the first time in the postseason as their Western Conference quarterfinals series with the #2 Ontario Reign shifts to southern California. The Thunder have a 2-0 series lead after sweeping both contests at home this past weekend. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. PST.
The Thunder had a 5-2-0-2 record on Ontario’s home ice during the regular season, including a stretch of four victories in a row. The Thunder are 4-0 in playoff series when they win the first two games. In the first two contests, the Thunder outscored the Reign 8-4 and outshot Ontario 71-46. Five different players scored goals and the Thunder went 3-for-7 on the power play.
Top line forwards Jeremy Langlois, Joey Martin and Andrew Clark combined for 15 points in games one and two against Ontario, continuing their stellar play from the end of the regular season. Langlois leads the team in goals (4) and total points (7), while Martin leads the team in assists (4). Langlois scored a hat trick in Game 2, the first hat trick by a Thunder player all season. Forwards Riley Wetmore and Ryan Hayes are the only other Thunder players to tally a goal in the series.
Langlois leads all players in points and goals during the playoffs, currently one point ahead of Alaska’s Nick Mazzolini. The ECHL All-Rookie Team selection is tied for the most powerplay goals as well with two. Martin is tied for third in points and sits second in assists, one behind Mazzolini.
Thunder goaltender Brian Foster has been in net for both victories, boosting his overall ECHL postseason record to 3-1-2. This is only Foster’s second playoff appearance after he fell in four games with the #7 Cincinnati Cyclones to the #2 Reading Royals in 2011, in a best-of-five series. The 27-year-old netminder played a huge part in the Thunder’s Game 1 victory, making 26 saves and allowing just one goal, and did what he needed to do to keep his team in front until the end in Game 2.
Ontario will be without forward Jeremy Yablonski, one of four Reign players to score a goal in the series. The 34-year-old veteran was suspended for the remainder of the playoff series, with any further discipline being applied afterward. Yablonski was suspended for an incident in the second period of Game 2 when he stepped on Thunder defenseman Scott Langdon.
The Reign have gotten the majority of their offense from players on their blue line, with three defenseman scoring goals. Kyle Bigos, Jake Newton and Matt Register all found the net. Ontario has yet to score a goal in the first period of a playoff game and has never led. Goaltenders J.P. Anderson and Jussi Olkinuora have split the starts in net. Anderson allowed three goals and made 36 saves in the loss in Game 1, while Olkinuora gave up five goals and made 27 saves in Game 2.
If Ontario wins either Game 3 or 4, the Thunder would be guaranteed to have another playoff game at home in this series. Game 5 would be at Stockton Arena on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. PST. Special playoff ticket packages are available through the Stockton Thunder front office by calling 209-373-1500. Fans can get tickets to all of the Thunder’s 2014 Kelly Cup Playoff games with the purchase of a new season ticket. For more information, visit StocktonThunder.com.