Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stockton Thunder's Offense MIA

Stockton Thunder has only earned one point in their last six games. If you add up all the goals they have scored in these six games? 11.

This team is on a scary goal drought, and Coach Thomas' latest move to spark the scoring was acquiring LW Jordan Fulton from the Kalamazoo Wings (5g, 10a in 27 games) in exchange for LW Aaron Clarke. Fulton didn't arrive in time to help the Thunder tonight as they returned home to Stockton Arena to take on the Las Vegas Wranglers.

The Thunder haven't played in their home arena since December 11. They had a rough outing on their five game road trip, earning their only point in an overtime loss to the Bakersfield Condors on their last away game before heading back to Stockton.

Surely coming back to friendly faces and their home arena would change the Stockton Thunder's fortunes.

Before the puck dropped for the opening faceoff, Thunder's Garet Hunt (who is rarely in the starting lineup) and Las Vegas Wrangler's James Bates (a former Thunder player) were already jostling each other. Thirty seconds into the game, Thunder's revolving door into the penalty box began with Cameron Brodie in for a hooking minor, and Garet Hunt in for misconduct/continuing altercation, a ten minute penalty.

By some miracle, Thunder scored the first goal of the game-Bretton Cameron, with an assist from Chris Lawrence in the first period. The momentum from that goal quickly disappeared when Sean McMonagle from Las Vegas answered back less than two minutes later.

The Thunder began second period on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Eleven seconds in to the period, Wranglers' Aaron Power with assists from ex-Thunder players James Bates and Ryan Huddy scored a powerplay goal. But the worst play of the night has to be awarded to Stockton's Jordan Foreman, who gave the puck right to Las Vegas' James Bates just a few strides in front of the goal. Bates scored unassisted on Thunder goalie Garrett Zemlak-who had very little help defense-wise the whole game.

That Jordan Foreman giveaway goal to put the scoring at 3-1 Las Vegas was the game's undoing. The Thunder scored their own powerplay goal in the second period to get within one, but was unable to score a tying goal past Las Vegas goalie Joe Fallon-who was sharp, but not particularly spectacular.

Stockton forward Garet Hunt was awarded a penalty shot in the second period after being taken down on a breakaway, but could not capitalize.

Third period was terrible for the Thunder. Too many fancy passes turned into giveaways. They came close to scoring several times but were too slow to pounce on juicy rebounds. Las Vegas eventually got an empty-net goal with a minute left in the game after Garrett Zemlak was pulled for an extra attacker and the final score was 4-2.

The penalties called on the Thunder in this game-8. Penalties called on the Wranglers-1. Shots on goal-Stockton-28, Las Vegas-30.

The Thunder's next home game is tomorrow. They will take on the Wranglers once again, their last game before the New Year.

Three stars of the game:
  1. James Bates (Las Vegas)
  2. Jason Pitton (Stockton)
  3. Aaron Power (Las Vegas)

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