Thunder Win Big 6-2 on Home Ice
The Thunder bounced back from a 1-0 deficit and defeated the Bakersfield Condors by the final score of 6-2, earning themselves their first win of the Semifinals and bringing the series within a game (2-1 BAK lead).
“I thought in the first period we were still playing a little bit tentative,” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “I thought Brian Foster did his job and made some big saves to keep us in the game and I think once we found the net a few times guys relaxed.”
After failing to score in the first period and trailing by one headed into the second period, the Thunder looked to solve the mystery of Bakersfield netminder Laurent Brossoit. They did just that as they tallied two goals in the final 11:31 of the second frame to capture the lead that they’d never surrender.
The first goal came on the power play when forward Alan Quine zipped a centering pass to Nick Tremblay who was driving toward the net. The puck deflected off the forward’s skate and in past Bakersfield goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
Initially, the referee waved the goal off thinking that the puck went in because of a kicking motion, but after review with his fellow officials, declared it a good goal to tie the game at one.
The Thunder’s second tally of the period again came from the special teams, but this time it came on the penalty kill. After clearing the puck, defenseman Ben Rosen continued the fore-check, causing the defenseman to rush his backhanded pass off the glass.
Forward James Henry, who had just came in off the change, collected the puck and beat Brossoit top shelf on the near post for the 2-1 lead. With the goal, the Thunder seized the lead and never trailed again in the game.
“It was a line change and Rosen as a defenseman was putting pressure on their defenseman and their defenseman put it up the boards,” said Henry. “That’s where I just happened to be. I just walked in and saw an opening and I got it in there. Shorthanded goals are really big momentum swings for us.”
The Thunder then rode that momentum into the third period as forward Ryan Hayes collected the Thunder’s third straight goal, extending the lead to two. After the Bakersfield netminder made the save on the first shot, Hayes collected the rebound and shot the puck as he was falling backwards onto the ice.
The Thunder didn’t stop after the Hayes tally as they tacked on three more from forward Andrew Clark on the power play, another from Quine, and finished the night with an empty netter from Hayes.
The Condors did strike in between Quine and Hayes’ goal thanks to a delayed penalty goal from Chase Schaber to temporarily cut the deficit to three goals.
Foster was big when he needed to be which can be showcased by Foster coming out to the hashmarks to poke a puck past Knackstedt who would have been in all alone. The goaltender ended the night stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced en route to his fifth victory of the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Both teams will be back in action Friday night, and again on Saturday night at Stockton Arena with the Thunder looking to even up the series and potentially take a 3-2 series lead back to Bakersfield. Puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30.
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