Hayes Scores Twice but Thunder Unable to Take Down Idaho
Ryan Hayes scored twice but the Thunder started their important three-game home stand on a disappointing note as they fell to the Idaho Steelheads Wednesday night at Stockton Arena by the final score of 4-2.
For the second straight time, the Thunder surrendered the first goal of the game as Idaho forward Luke Judson connected for the powerplay goal. Judson deflected the puck in off the initial shot from defenseman Charlie Dodero to sneak the puck past Thunder goaltender Brian Foster.
Later in the first period, lady luck was on the Thunder side as some bounces went their way in the defensive zone. Forward Joey Diamond collected the puck and gained the offensive zone before being surrounded by the Idaho defense. Linemate Alan Quine scooped up the puck from Diamond and found forward Hayes at the back post for the equalizer.
“I actually thought our first period energy and momentum was ours after the first goal,” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “The second period is where they really took it away from us.”
It would be the Steelheads who’d seize the momentum just before the midway mark in the game when Brett Robinson received a pass from forward William Rapuzzi who stole the puck from the Thunder’s Brady Ramsay making his pro debut after the Thunder won the defensive zone face-off. Robinson’s wrist-shot beat the Thunder netminder to temporarily give Idaho the lead.
Hayes would again work his magic this time on the power play as he collected the second tally of the night. The standout Thunder forward beat Idaho goaltender Josh Robinson top shelf with the wrist shot off the feed from Quine to again dig the Thunder out of the one goal hole.
“It was kind of just a broken play, I just took a good shot when I thought I had the opportunity and it went in,” said Hayes. “My job is to score goals and create some offense and shooting the puck is going to help.”
From then on, Idaho controlled the play in the second period, picking up two more goals in the final 5:24 of the period. The first of those came from Tommy Grant, which snuck through the legs of Foster. Forward Greg Patterson then doubled the Idaho lead to two when he snapped a wrist-shot past Foster coming down the near-side of the ice. Patterson’s goal wrapped up the scoring for the game, as neither team found the back of the cage in the third to finish with a 4-2 score.
The Thunder pecked the Idaho netminder in the third period, accounting for 13 of the teams 26 shots but Robinson stepped up and preserved the lead his team got him. The Thunder pulled Foster for the last 2:34 but the Thunder still came up empty. Foster ended his night allowing 4 goals on 22 shots faced.
The kryptonite for the Thunder was their failure to capitalize on the man advantage against Idaho. In total, the Thunder earned six power plays, including one five-on-three, but could only capitalize on with one powerplay goal.
Next up for the Thunder will be another home contest against the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night, which happens to be another rally towel night at the Arena with the first 1,500 fans in Stockton Arena picking up white rally towels on their way in! Puck drop is scheduled to be at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Following the game the Thunder take to the road for a Saturday game in Ontario and return back home for the second to last Family Day of the year on Sunday when the team completes the regular season series against the Steelheads.