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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thunder Best in the West Despite Shoot-Out Loss

After Stockton Thunder's Thursday night shoot-out win over the visiting Idaho Steelheads, the Thunder took another hit to their ever changing roster.

Center Chris D'Alvise, Thunder's top scorer with 17 points in 12 games, signed a Professional Try-Out Agreement with the AHL's Springfield Falcons.
Fortunately, left-winger Jason Pitton was back from his call-up with the AHL's Manitoba Moose and was able to suit up for tonight's game. Chase Ryan was activated off the Injured Reserve and was in the lineup. In goal for Stockton again was Garrett Zemlak, who was brilliant in his Thursday night debut.
Tonight's game did not have a good start for the Thunder. Nine seconds into the game, Fraser Clair took a holding penalty. This quickly turned into a 5 on 3 penalty kill after Anthony Aiello was charged with high-sticking in a defensive zone face-off.

The Steelheads didn't score on their first 5 on 3 powerplay, But Idaho had another 5 on 3 in the third period and scored on that, tying the game with the goal Stockton's Chris Lawrence got in the second period.

Once again, Garrett Zemlak had to be in top form. He bailed the Thunder out the whole 60 minutes of the game, and then in the 5 minute overtime period. Stockton had 7 powerplays and couldn't captilize on any of them. Sloppy passing and multiple turnovers made it hard for the Thunder to get anything going. And when a play would finally start to develop in their offensive zone, the inability to take advantage of the juicy rebounds and partially open net Idaho's goalie Mike Zacharias kept leaving was frustrating to watch.

The Thunder was defeated by the Steelheads in the shoot-out. Mike Gabinet and John Swanson scored shoot-out goals for Idaho, but Chris Lawrence was the only one from the Thunder to get a puck past Zacharias.

One bright spot in this game is that even with tonight's shoot-out loss, the Thunder is atop the ECHL's Western Conference with an 8-1-4 record, 20 points, and a .769 winning percentage.

Tomorrow the Stockton Thunder hosts the Victoria Salmon Kings. Garet Hunt and Jesse Gimblett will be available to play now that they have served their suspensions.

Three stars of the night:

  1. John Swanson (Idaho)

  2. Mike Zacharias (Idaho)

  3. Garrett Zemlak (Stockton)

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