Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stockton Thunder Wins Thrilling Barn Burner 6-5 (ECHL)


03/28/2010 7:02 PM

ROCKIN' ROBIN(SON)
6,845 fans enjoy wild Thunder come-from-behind win, Robinson's hat trick

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FINAL STATS: BOX SCORE
VIDEO: Highlights and postgame locker room reaction
AUDIO (Coming soon): Game highlights

STOCKTON, Calif. - Left winger Matt Robinson completed a hat trick on a dramatic, game-winning goal with 59.5 seconds left in regulation, helping the Stockton Thunder overcome two separate three-goal deficits in a thrilling 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Las Vegas Wranglers before a crowd of 6,845 at Stockton Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The Thunder, whose magic number was reduced to three to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth, moved to within two points of the idle Bakersfield Condors for first place in the Pacific Division, scored three goals in the final period and five of the last six goals in the game.
Matt Robinson celebrates his second goal of the game in the third period, giving the Thunder their first lead of the game, 5-4. (photo by George Steckler)

Chris D'Alvise (1g-2a) and J.F. Caudron (1g-1a) chipped in with multi-point games while Bryan Young added a first period goal for the Thunder, helping backup goaltender Kurtis Mucha earn the first win of his pro career.

The Wranglers raced out to a 3-1 lead by scoring on their first shot and first three out of ten. Chris Neiszner fired a bullet from of the rush past Andrew Perugini just 1:18 into the game for a 1-0 Las Vegas edge, and Alex Bourret followed with a rebound at the doorstep into an open net for a 2-0 lead and a Las Vegas power-play goal just 1:48 later.

After Greg Collins converted a turnover with a snapshot at the left circle to put the Thunder in a 3-0 hole with 8:28 remaining, Perugini was lifted for Mucha, who made his Thunder debut.

The move sparked an early Thunder rally when Young's one-timer beat Jimmy Spratt from between the circles with 4:13 left in the period, cutting the deficit to 3-1 when Young converted on Kelly Czuy's pass from behind the net.

Barry Goers' first goal of his pro career stunted the Thunder comeback early in the second period with a slapshot at the right point that glanced off Mucha's glove for a 4-1 Las Vegas lead, coming 21 seconds into the period.

Back-to-back goals by Robinson and Caudron sliced the deficit to one goal before the end of the period, beginning on a Robinson rebound for his 27th goal with 6:55 left to cut the Las Vegas lead to 4-2.

Caudron beat Spratt on a breakaway, converting off Oren Eizenman's outlet pass with 1:29 left in the period, closing the gap to 4-3 on his 17th goal of the season and putting the Thunder back in the game.

Following a series of near-misses in front of Spratt to being the third period, D'Alvise's 31st goal of the year leveled the score at 4-4 on the power-play with 7:05 left when he rifled Justin DaCosta's cross-ice pass with a one-timer past Spratt's glove from the right circle.

Just 27 seconds later, Ryan Constant's drive from the left point caromed off a Robinson screen to the back of the net, sending Stockton Arena into delirium with the Thunder's first lead of the game at 5-4.

Yet, the Wranglers regrouped and tied the score with three minutes remaining at 5-5 on Adam Miller's 32nd goal of the season, the beneficiary of a Craig Switzer centering feed at the goal mouth that caromed through Mucha's five-hole.

The stage was set for Robinson's heroics and his 29th goal of the year and hat trick restored pandemonium in Stockton Arena with the eventual game-winner with 59.5 seconds left when he picked up a loose puck at the neutral zone on a counter-attack and drilled a slap shot past Spratt's blocker side from the left wing.

After Las Vegas pulled Spratt for an extra skater, Las Vegas worked the puck deep but failed to register a shot on net, preserving Stockton's comeback win.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Brett Hemingway (healthy), Mark Pavli (injured reserve), Matt O'Dette (injured reserve), Trevor Hunt (healthy), Riley Emmerson (injured reserve) and Craig Valette (injured reserve) ... the Thunder finished the seven-game homestand at 4-3-0 ... Stockton registered its second comeback win when trailing after two periods ... the Thunder outshot Las Vegas, 32-27 and went 1-for-4 on the power-play ... eclipsing the 200,000 fan mark in attendance for the fifth straight season, the Thunder drew 20,615 fans during the weekend.

The Thunder returns to play Tuesday with its next game at 7:00 p.m., visiting the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena. The game can be heard on radio at 1280 KWSX 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. STK - 71 Matt Robinson
2. STK - 10 Chris D'Alvise
3. STK - 12 J.F. Caudron

*Reprinted by Oilers Jambalaya 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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