Thunder Shut Out in Game Two, 2-0
The #7 Stockton Thunder suffered their second straight loss on the road to the #6 Bakersfield Condors, falling 2-0 in game two of their Western Conference Semifinals series. The series now shifts to Stockton for games three, four and five.
Counting the regular season, this was just the second time the Thunder have been shut out in 2013-14, both coming at the hands of Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit. It was Brossoit’s third shutout of the postseason after he tied an ECHL record with 8 shutouts in the regular season. The Thunder finished the night with 22 shots compared to 31 for Bakersfield.
The Thunder started the game quickly with forward Joey Martin taking the puck into the offensive zone off the opening draw and getting the first shot of the game just five seconds into the contest. Bakersfield ended the period outshooting the Thunder 12-7 and grabbed the lead with a late power play chance.
Condors forward Nick MacNeil made his playoff debut, replacing forward Spencer Bennett in the Bakersfield line-up. The rookie made the most of his chance, scoring the opening goal on a deflection with 1:25 left in the first period. Erik Burgdoerfer set up the play with a pass to Chris Collins at the right-wing circle. MacNeil got a piece of the shot in front of the net to deflect it past Foster for the 1-0 Condors lead at the break.
Neither team found the back of the net in the second period, as Thunder goaltender Brian Foster made several outstanding saves to keep his team within one goal. He finished the night with 29 saves, while dropping to 4-2-0 in the playoffs. The team suffered a blow with an injury to defenseman Lee Baldwin in the period, but the Victoria, British Columbia native was able to return for the final frame of regulation.
The third period proved frustrating for the Thunder, as they were held to their fewest amount of shots of any of the three frames. They finished with just 6 shots in the period. They were still in it right to the end until Bakersfield doubled their lead with a late power play, their second man-up goal of the contest.
After Adam Brace was called for rough, former Thunder player Greg Miller picked up a loose puck on the boards and fired past Foster from the slot for a 2-0 lead with just 2:12 left on the clock. It was the third goal of the playoffs for Miller who moves into a tie for the team lead with Bakersfield captain Joel Broda.
The game ended on a sour note as a scrum broke out after the final horn sounded. Several players were handed multiple penalties in the melee that lasted several minutes, and ended with both head coaches yelling at each other from across the glass. Both Garet Hunt and Matt Bergland picked up misconducts from the 46 combined penalty minutes that were handed out.
There was a combined total of 64 penalty minutes and seven power plays in the game, up from the two penalties that were called in game one of the series. The Thunder finished 0-for-3 with the man-advantage and are now 4-for-18 in the playoffs.
Stockton now trails in the series two games to none, just the third time that has happened out of 16 playoff series in franchise history. The Thunder have now lost seven straight games at Rabobank Arena counting the regular season, with the last victory coming on November 14.
The Thunder will host games three and four, as well as game five if necessary, at Stockton Arena on May 7th, 9th and 10th respectively. Wednesday’s game on May 7th will start at 7:00 p.m. PST while the games on Friday and Saturday will start at 7:30 p.m. PST. Fans can save money on tickets with the Playoff Flex Plan. You get four ticket vouchers, good for any of the Thunder’s second round playoff games, for just $45! Fans can also get free second-round playoff tickets with the purchase of a new Mini Plan for the 2014-15 season. For more information visit StocktonThunder.com.