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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stockton Thunder Lose In A Tight Game / A Game Recap

03/31/2010 10:03 PM

6,871 fans witness wild comeback attempt in 5-4 loss, regular season home finale


VIDEO: Highlights and postgame locker room reaction
AUDIO: Game highlights

STOCKTON, Calif. - A five-goal attack by the Bakersfield Condors in the first two periods was enough to stave off a furious three-goal rally by the Stockton Thunder (33-28-9, 75 points) in final period, ultimately a 5-4 Thunder loss before a crowd of 6,871 at Stockton Arena on Wednesday night.
Chris D'Alvise's pair of goals put him one off the Thunder single-season record (35).
(photo by George Steckler)

The Thunder, who finished the regular season home schedule at 17-12-7, were led offensively by Chris D'Alvise's pair of goals, needing one to tie Ryan Huddy's single-season record (35) set last season. James Bates also chipped in with three assists and Bryan Young and Oren Eizenman also scored for the Thunder.

Bakersfield took sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of the Thunder with two games left.

The Thunder fell behind early and trailed 3-0 after one period, starting on a Gino Guyer goal from the slot with 7:16 gone in the period. Dan Kissel snuck a wrist shot past Kurtis Mucha's blocker side on a partial breakaway with 10:41 gone to make it 2-0.

Then with 6:54 left after a Thunder penalty kill, a Thunder turnover produced Jean-Marc Beaudoin's first professional goal, sneaking a wrist shot under the crossbar from the right circle to hike Bakersfield's lead to 3-0.

Stephane Goulet's breakaway goal boosted the Condors edge to 4-0 with 4:04 gone in the second period, but the Thunder finally broke Timo Pielmeier's shutout string on the 33rd goal of the year by D'Alvise, who buried a backhander under the crossbar from close range and cut the deficit to 4-1 just 16 seconds later.

Yet, Bakersfield padded the lead again when Nick Kemp finished Ryan Menei's centering feed from the left corner with 4:50 left in the second and pushed the Thunder back into a four-goal hole.

Following a deliberate pace of play for the opening minutes of the third period, the Thunder cut the gap to 5-2 on Young's fourth goal of the season with 9:50 left, burying a rebound at the left goal post after Pielmeier stopped Steve Vanoosten's drive from the right point.

The comeback attempt was cranked up on two goals after the Thunder pulled Mucha for an extra attacker, beginning with Eizenman's 21st of the year to slice the deficit to 5-3 with 1:03 left when he converted Justin DaCosta's centering pass from between the circles.

Following an interference penalty issued to Ryan Constant, the Thunder won a faceoff in the defensive zone and James Bates sent a nifty, angled pass off the left boards to a streaking D'Alvise, who sent Stockton Arena's crowd into eruption and closed the deficit to 5-4 with just 35 seconds left when he buried a wrist shot into an open net after Pielmeier missed on a poke check by coming out of his net.

The Thunder then parlayed off the momentum with one final attack in the closing seconds, but Bates' snap shot and bid for the tie from the left circle caught the tip of Pielmeier's glove. The Condors tied the puck up in the right corner to close the game.

Mucha, making his first pro start, 25 saves in the loss. Menei's pair of assists led the Condors offensively and the team had 12 different players make the scoresheet.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Brett Hemingway (healthy), Matt O'Dette (injured reserve), Trevor Hunt (injured reserve), Garet Hunt (injured reserve), Riley Emmerson (injured reserve) and Craig Valette (injured reserve) ... the Thunder finished the season series with a record of 6-4-2 against Bakersfield ... the Thunder were outshot, 30-26 by Bakersfield ... Stockton averaged over 6,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season ...

The Thunder held a regular season awards ceremony following the game: Garet Hunt (Fan Favorite), Chris D'Alvise (Rookie of the Year), Daryl Marcoux (Unsung Hero), James Bates (Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player) and Anthony Aiello (Defenseman of the Year).

The Thunder returns to play Friday on the road, visiting the Alaska Aces in an 8:15 p.m. faceoff at Sullivan Arena. The game can be heard on radio at 1280 KWSX and viewed online exclusively at , 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 .

1. BAK - 32 Ryan Menei
2. BAK - 14 Nick Kemp
3. STK - 10 Chris D'Alvise

*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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