Special Teams Help Stockton to 1-0 Series Lead
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five opening round match-up with the Colorado Eagles in the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoffs. The Thunder diversified their offense, scoring a goal at even strength, shorthanded, and on the power play, while Olivier Roy stopped 35 of 36 shots to backstop the victory.
As advertised, the opening period between the two teams featured plenty of high-tempo, back-and-forth action with plenty of offensive chances. But despite a combined 26 shots (14 for Stockton), just one puck found its way into the back of the net as both goaltenders were solid. Garet Hunt accounted for that goal by back-handing his own rebound over Kyle Jones at 3:10.
The Thunder out-shot the Eagles 17-8 in the second period and doubled their lead midway through with a shorthanded tally on a 2-on-1 rush. It was actually their second such rush in succession on the penalty kill, and Jesse Fratkin was able to cash in when he snapped a shot past Jones from the left circle.
Stockton made it 3-0 four and a half minutes into the final frame when an un-checked Chris D'Alvise was able to put home a Max Campbell rebound from the doorstep on a power play. Colorado finally got on the board just over six minutes in when Aaron Slattengren was able to deposit a Jason Beatty rebound.
Just minutes later, Beatty came close to netting his own goal, but his shot from the point rang off the crossbar, and that was as close as Colorado would come to getting another puck past Roy on the night.
Game 2 of the series will take place in Stockton Wednesday night, and then the teams will travel to Colorado for Game 3 on Friday. If necessary, Games 4 & 5 will be played on Saturday & Monday respectively.