Thunder Begin Road Trip in Bako
The Stockton Thunder (21-15-0-5) kick off their seven-game, 10-day road trip with a visit to the Bakersfield Condors (17-20-1-3) tonight at Rabobank Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. PST. It is the first game for the Thunder that was not on the original schedule, as it was added after the San Francisco Bulls folded last week.
Thunder fans can catch tonight’s game at the team’s “home away from home” the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel where they can enjoy food and drink specials while watching the game on AmericaONE. Fans can also tune in for free live audio through Spreaker.com and StocktonThunder.com.
Tonight’s match-up is the ninth game of the season between Stockton and Bakersfield. The Thunder come into the game with a 5-2-0-1 record against the Condors including a 4-3 win in a shootout the last time the squads met, on January 18, at Stockton Arena. However, the last time the Thunder visited Rabobank Arena, they suffered their worst loss of the season, 7-2, on January 14.
This is one of two trips to Bakersfield that has been added to the Thunder’s schedule, bringing the season series total to 11 meetings in 2013-14. The squads will also face-off on March 4, and on April 11, the latter being the second to last game on the schedule for the Thunder.
The Thunder are coming off a game where they tied that mark of most goals allowed in a game this season, as they fell to the Colorado Eagles at home, 7-5. The Thunder started the game well scoring three unanswered goals in the first period, but after a three-goal second period by the Eagles, Colorado added four goals in the third while holding the Thunder to just three shots.
Captain Garet Hunt finished off a personal milestone in the game as he scored just 40 seconds into the contest. It was his 14th goal of the season, which sets a new single season career high for the 26-year-old out of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, snapping his old mark of 13 goals set during the 2010-11 season. Hunt is second overall on the team in points with 33.
The man leading the way is forward Joey Martin. The center has compiled 38 points so far on 10 goals and 28 assists. He is the only Thunder player in the top 10 in points for the league as he currently sits in a three-way tie for the ninth spot with Orlando’s Mickey Lang and Idaho’s Anthony Nigro. Martin also has the most points of any Thunder player against Bakersfield this season with 10.
In terms of goals against the Condors, three Thunder players have scored four times against Bakersfield. Rookie forwards Ben Rosen and Greg Miller are tied for the team lead along with Andrew Clark who is now in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Both Miller and Rosen are coming off a game where they tallied points as Rosen picked up an assist against Colorado in his first game back from an injury, while Miller had a goal and two assists to lead the team against the Eagles.
The Thunder’s goaltending situation is a bit different than it was during the team’s two games against Bakersfield in January. Rookie Parker Milner has returned for his third stint in the ECHL this season, getting the start on Saturday. The former Boston College goalie has yet to face the Condors this season in 10 starts for the Thunder. Brian Foster had both starts against Bakersfield last month during a stretch of eight straight games played for the team as the only goalie under contract on the roster. The Pembroke, New Hampshire native celebrates his 27th birthday today.
Bakersfield is led by forwards Chase Schaber and Chris Collins who are tied for the team lead in goals against the Thunder with four apiece. Schaber also has six assists in seven games against Stockton for a team-high 10 points. It has been a rotating door of players in the line-up for the Condors this season, especially against their Pacific Division rival as the team has used 33 different players against the Thunder.
Team captain Joel Broda is Bakersfield’s overall leader this season with 35 points on 19 goals and 16 assists. In net, Laurent Brossoit appears to have solved the team’s goaltending woes as he has posted an 8-4-1 record with a .934 save percentage and a 1.77 goals against average in 13 games for the Condors this season.
The Thunder finish off back-to-back road games with a visit to Ontario tomorrow night, before hopping on a plan to Alaska for three games this weekend against the Aces. Friday’s game on February 7, will be televised locally and nationally being carried live in the Stockton market through Antenna TV, FOX40’s digital channel, and on tape-delay by Comcast Sportsnet California and NHL Network on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Thunder next return home on February 15, when they host the Utah Grizzlies on Star Wars night.
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