Thunder Storms Back For OT Win, 2-0 Series Lead
STOCKTON, Calif. – The Colorado Eagles took an early lead but the Stockton Thunder stormed back to force overtime and win the game, taking a 2-0 series lead in the ECHL’s Western Conference Quarterfinals. The best-of-five series now heads to the Budweiser Events Center, with Game 3 Friday night.
Colorado jumped out to a quick start, netting a pair of goals in the game’s first two minutes. Joey Sides got the first goal 48 seconds in following a faceoff in the right circle of the offensive zone. Off the draw, the speedy forward stole the puck from Stockton’s goalie behind the net and was able to back-hand a wraparound goal into the cage before the netminder could get back in position.
A minute later, amateur-signee Teegan Moore picked up his first professional playoff goal with a shot from the left circle as he worked a 2-on-1 rush with Gord Burnett, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead on their first three shots of the game. Thunder head coach Matt Thomas called his timeout following that goal to stop the Eagles’ momentum, and his team responded with more solid play the rest of the period.
Stockton had a much better second period, controlling much of the play and testing Kyle Jones on several occasions. The Eagles’ netminder was largely up to the task, though, and looked like the goalie who led the ECHL in wins during the regular season. He was, however, beaten once on a beautiful effort that saw Matt Foy flip the puck toward the crease from the right point and a streaking Max Campbell swat it out of mid-air from the low slot.
Olivier Roy was just as good when challenged at the other end of the ice, stopping all 10 of Colorado’s shots in the frame, helping to send his team into the second intermission down by just one goal, 2-1.
The Thunder took even more control of the game in the third period, out-shooting the Eagles 17-4 in their final push to tie the game. Despite Stockton’s domination of time of possession, Jones & Colorado nearly withstood the firing range, but the home team was able to get the tying goal with less than three and a half minutes in the period when Campbell picked up his second goal of the game with a one-timer from the left circle.
The Thunder carried that momentum into the overtime period and it took them just 17 seconds to find the back of the net when Kevin Baker fed Chris D’Alvise from behind the net for a chip-in from the low slot.