Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Stockton Thunder Win Game 2 / Up 2-0 In Series Over Bakersfield / A Game Recap


04/17/2010 11:54 PM -
ANOTHER HERO MAKES IT 2-0
Eizenman leads with pair of goals, scores OT winner, Thunder take series home with 2-0 lead

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FINAL STATS: LINK TO BOX SCORE
AUDIO: Game highlights

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Oren Eizenman scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 10:59 left in sudden death overtime, to lead the Stockton Thunder to their second straight comeback victory in overtime in a 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors in the National Conference Semifinals of the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs, before 4,827 at Rabobank Arena on Saturday night.

The Thunder, who took a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series over the second-seeded Condors with the series moving to Stockton for Game 3 next Wednesday, were aided by Andrew Perugini's 41 stops while Ryan Constant and J.F. Caudron added a goal each, helping Stockton come-from-behind in three separate one-goal deficits.

STOCKTON VS. BAKERSFIELD - NATIONAL CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Game 1: Stockton 3 at Bakersfield 2 (OT)
Game 2: Stockton 4 at Bakersfield 3 (OT)
Game 3: Bakersfield at Stockton - Wednesday, April 21 - 7:00 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 4: Bakersfield at Stockton - Friday, April 23 - 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 5: Bakersfield at Stockton - Saturday, April 24 - 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena) *
Game 6: Stockton at Bakersfield - Tuesday, Apr. 27 - 7:00 p.m. (Rabobank Arena) *
Game 7: Stockton at Bakersfield - Wednesday, Apr. 28 - 7:00 p.m. (Rabobank Arena) *
* If necessary


Oren Eizenman led the Thunder with a pair of goals and scored the first OT winner of the playoffs in his career.
(photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin)

"We knew Bakersfield was going to push; we did a good job withstanding it and responding by pushing back," said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. "Once again I say that I'm proud of these guys. They came from behind in of the toughest buildings to play in the entire league and found a way to win two road games in overtime. That's what successful teams in the playoffs have to do and we proved again that we're capable of doing that."

Bakersfield took a 2-1 lead after one period while the Thunder lost 31-goal scorer Matt Robinson to a game misconduct on a five-minute boarding penalty early on Stephane Goulet, but Stockton killed off the entire penalty. Goulet would not return.

Sasha Pokulok got the Condors on the board, 1-0 with a wrist shot from the left point that caromed off traffic and zipped past Andrew Perugini's glove with 9:42 remaining.

Following the Robinson ejection and penalty kill, the Thunder quieted the Bakersfield crowd on Caudron's fifth goal of the postseason with 3:54 left.

Yet, a Ryan Menei power-play goal, after he hit a post on an open net for the second straight game, put Bakersfield ahead again, 2-1 when stuffed the rebound over a fallen Perugini.

Stockton roared back with a pair of goals in the second to tie the game, 3-3 at the end of two periods. Constant drilled a slapshot from the left point that snuck by Timo Pielmeier through traffic for a 2-2 tie with 9:23 left in the frame.

Just 2:10 later, Maxime Macenauer was awarded his first goal of the postseason when he converted off a jam play at the front the net, restoring Bakersfield's lead.

Yet, the Thunder responded with a power-play goal coming with 29.6 seconds remaining off an Eizenman rebound to level the score 3-3. Eizenman put the rebound past Pielmeier after Anthony Aiello's drive from the left point deflected off a Kelly Czuy screen at the front of the goal.

Both teams battled through a scoreless third period, with Perugini logging 12 saves and Pielmeier stopping 13 shots.

Following a series of back-and-forth scoring chances, Eizenman planted a backhander through the five hole of Pielmeier with 9:01 gone in the period after he darted out of the left corner, sending the Thunder flying off the bench in celebration for the second straight game.

Pielmeier, who was making his first appearance in net since Game 3 of the first round against Victoria, took the loss with 38 saves.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Riley Emmerson (inactive list), Brett Hemingway (inactive list), Trevor Hunt (inactive list), Justin DaCosta (healthy) and Colin Hemingway (injury, day-to-day) ... the Thunder have won three of the last four playoff overtime games and improved to 2-0 in overtime in this year's playoffs ... the Thunder improved to 3-3 in Game 2 situations ... the Thunder surrendered the first goal of the game to the opposition for the sixth straight playoff game ... Bakersfield outshot Stockton, 44-42 but the Thunder owned 28-27 edge in the last two periods.

The series moves to Stockton for Game 3 between the Thunder and Condors, starting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 21 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). Tickets for Thunder home playoff games are available by calling (209) 373-1700 or by visiting www.StocktonTickets.com.

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 - 9 Oren Eizenman
2. BAK - 32 Ryan Menei
3. STK - 12 J.F. Caudron

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