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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stockton Thunder Recap: Stockton 3 - Alaska 1 / #StkThunder

10/05/2010 9:57 PM - Tyson Sexsmith stops 31 shots in Thunder preseason opening win


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Goaltender Tyson Sexsmith made 31 saves to win in his preseason debut, helping guide the Stockton Thunder to 3-1 victory over the Alaska Aces in the 2010-11 ECHL preseason opener at Sullivan Arena on Tuesday.

Sexsmith, who was assigned to the Thunder on Monday from the San Jose Sharks, kept Alaska off the board early and was helped out by two power play goals from Matt Jones and Sean Menton. Forward Chris Lawrence got the game-winning goal in the first period as Stockton led wire-to-wire.

"I thought it was a great effort and I liked the way we worked hard," said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. "Obviously executing on power plays early in the game was crucial for us. I thought we worked it around pretty well. Defensively there's room to grow but were very solid in competing. I thought Tyson made it easy for us to play in front of him, which is always a nice thing to get from a goaltender."

Tyson Sexsmith was nearly flawless on
every shot he saw, recording 31 saves.
(photo by Sean Blair)

The Thunder came out rolling with the first two goals of the game. Jones, a recent free agent signee after starting his career on an NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks, put the Thunder ahead 1-0 on a power-play goal with 12:19 left in the opening period by knocking a shot from mid-air past goaltender Travis Yonkman, after Alaska failed on several clearing attempts.

Lawrence boosted the lead to 2-0 with nine minutes left when he hammered a slapshot from the right circle past Yonkman, all set up by Daryl Marcoux's feed.

Sexsmith a third round draftee of the San Jose Sharks in 2007, settled in by stopping all 11 shots he saw in the first period.

Alaska sliced the gap in half just 11 seconds into the second period when Garry Nunn converted off a late two-on-none break, slipping Scott Burt's feed into a near wide open net.

Rookie Sean Menton restored the two-goal cushion just 1:09 later when he collected his first goal of the preseason. Craig Valette set up the chance by barely missing wide of the net off the rush from the left wing, but Menton parked the rebound, which caromed hard off the boards, past a twisting Yonkman.

Sexsmith kept Alaska at bay with nine saves in the final period for the victory.

NOTES: The Thunder scratched Ryan Constant, Chris D'Alvise, Shane Ferguson and Steve Vanoosten ... the Thunder wore special preseason jerseys which will be auctioned off after Friday's home game against the Ontario Reign ... the Thunder officially converted at 2-for-5 on the power play and nearly had a third power-play goal just after an Aces penalty expired (Lawrence goal) ... Yonkman took the loss for Alaska in net with 22 stops.

Stockton and Alaska will square off in a rematch on Wednesday night at Sullivan Arena, beginning at 8:15 p.m. Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 15, when the Thunder opens the 2010-11 regular season at home against the Ontario Reign, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season in 2009-10. Season Tickets, mini-plans and individual tickets for 2010-11 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit

-Written by the Stockton Thunder-

*posted by with the permission of the Stockton Thunder hockey club*

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