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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Game Recap: Utah 4 - Stockton 3 (ECHL)

Game Recap: UTAH 4 - STOCKTON 3 (SO)
03/14/2010 6:31 PM

03/14/2010 6:31 PM -
UTAH 4 - STOCKTON 3 (SO)
Thunder fights off injuries, third period deficit to claim shootout point

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Two goals in the third period helped the Stockton Thunder (28-24-8, 65 points) claim a point for the second straight road game, ultimately won by the Utah Grizzlies, 4-3 in a shootout before 2,498 fans at The E-Center on Sunday.

The Thunder, who were led by relief goaltender Aaron Sorochan's 32 stops, including 18 of the last 19 faced, return home for eight of the last 12 games and a seven-game homestand, where they are 11-2-4 at Stockton Arena since Dec. 4. The Thunder are now tied for fifth place in the National Conference with the Alaska Aces.

Kelly Czuy, Colin Hemingway and Chris D'Alvise score for Stockton, while Utah was led by a pair of goals from Ryan Kinasewich. Mitch O'Keefe picked up the win in net with 36 saves.

Following a hit away from the play by Utah's Lance Galbraith (an interference call), chasing injured goaltender Andrew Perugini in favor of Sorochan in the first period, the Thunder retaliated on the ensuing power-play on Hemingway's marker with 9:54 left in the period when he buried a wrist shot from the left circle.

Utah responded with back-to-back goals to assume a 2-1 lead after one period, beginning with Tom May cleaning up a rebound on the power-play at 14:09 and a snap shot by Kinasewich from the slot for his 37th goal of the year with 2:27 left in the first period.

Sorochan and the Thunder weathered the storm and kept the deficit at a goal through two periods, helped out by a series of saves on A.J. Perry and Tim Crowder from close range.

Mitch O'Keefe countered with 14 saves in the second period for Utah.

The Thunder began their second straight third period rally with back-to-back goals to assume a 3-2 lead, beginning with a give-and-go play from the rush. Garet Hunt's pass from the left wing found Czuy at the doorstep, who tucked a backhander past O'Keefe with 5:14 elapsed.

Just 3:40 later, James Bates' post-to-post feed from another rush found D'Alvise at the right wing, banging a one-timer past O'Keefe's glove to restore the Thunder lead at 3-2 on D'Alvise's team-leading 26th goal of the year.

Utah responded with a flurry of play in front of Sorochan and Kinasewich finished off a rebound in the crease through a swarm of physical contact, tying the game at 3-3 with his second goal of the game coming with three minutes left.

In overtime, the Thunder outshot Utah 5-1 and missed on two close chances to win the game. A backdoor pass to Anthony Aiello found the defenseman at the left circle, but O'Keefe got in the way of his snapshot. Then with over a minute left, D'Alvise found a semi open net at the left post, but missed tucking in a fluttering puck.

In the shootout, Thunder goals by Aiello and Oren Eizenman were answered in three straight rounds by Vlady Nikiforov, AJ Perry and Kinasewich. O'Keefe then forced a Bates deke wide to the right goal post to seal the win in the bottom of the fifth round.

Perugini exited in the first with nine saves.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Brett Hemingway (healthy), Mark Pavli (healthy) and Craig Valette (injured reserve) ... the Thunder power-play converted at a 6-for-20 rate in the two games at Utah during the weekend ... Eizenman's assist on Hemingway's goal pushed his scoring streak to seven straight games ... Utah outshot the Thunder, 46-39 ... J.F. Caudron left in the first period due to injury.

The Thunder returns to play to open a seven-game homestand on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., hosting the Victoria Salmon Kings at Stockton Arena. The game can be heard and viewed online exclusively at www.stocktonthunder.com, courtesy of B2 Networks (audio is free of charge).

The Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, has led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew 223,854 fans to Stockton Arena in 2008-09. Season Tickets for 2009-10 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit http://www.stocktonthunder.com/

THREE STARS:
1. UTA - 9 Ryan Kinasewich
2. UTA - 79 Dylan Hunter
3. STK - 34 Kelly Czuy

Written by StocktonThunder.com

*Reprinted with permission from Stockton Thunder Professional Hockey Club, ECHL.  The Stockton Thunder are a proud 'AA' affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and Springfield Falcons (AHL) *

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